Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Take off the blinders

I spend a lot of energy every single day purposefully focusing to maintain concentration on productive  activities. If I don't make a point of focusing, my days slip by and I have little to show for it. At least, that's what I've been telling myself for decades.

It has finally dawned on me I might be going through life with blinders on.  I may actually be missing out, or discounting, some very delightful moments and experiences God wants me to not only acknowledge, but celebrate.

It all started Monday morning.

Early Monday while enjoying my first sip of coffee and planning my purposeful day of activities, my phone pinged telling me I had a text message. Since I rarely receive text message this early, I was quite curious to read it.  It was a sweet message from a friend letting me know she was thinking of me. The following short text conversation, nay connection, brought me such joy and reminded me that my friends are gifts from God. It also got me thinking how my super focused concentration usually gets in the way of my friendships.  I'll admit I'm usually so hyper-focused, I'm not even aware of where my phone is so I miss too many of these chances to connect with those I cherish and love.

Monday evening I was so focused on catching up on recorded television shows, I almost missed a text from another dear friend sending me a shout out from the west coast.  Luckily, I did hear the ping and remembered to check my phone before bed.  The attached photo of a Nordstrom Rack sign brought back memories of good times.  I was delighted my friend, in the midst of a busy business trip, stopped to connect with me.

As I climbing in bed, I asked myself why I don't take time to do considerate things like my friends.

The sad answer came easily. I live with blinders on.  Like a horse, I am programmed to look straight ahead, keeping my eyes only on what is in front of me.  I tend to be so intent on my own agenda, I forget to include others.  I guess most of the time I exclude others just to stay on task.

As I drifted off to sleep, I asked God to help me discover a way to take off my blinders when total focus is not required.  I prayed God would balance my need to focus with a healthy awareness of what's going on around me.

And today?  While enjoying a quiet lunch, I looked away from the TV and the midday news to gaze out the floor to ceiling windows of my breakfast nook.  At first, I saw trees... just bare trees.  Then I mentally took my blinders off and I saw something I'd never seen before...and might have missed had I turned my head back the news.

Do you see it?

How about  now?

 It was a huge hawk hiding in plain sight among the bare trees. 

I crept out onto the deck with my phone and took these pictures.  While I struggled to steady the camera and zoom in as much as my phone's camera would allow, he turned his head and stared directly at me.  He didn't seem to mind me clicking away.  He didn't flinch until I stepped out of the shadows for a closer look.  Startled by my sudden movement, he spread his wings, flapped them once to gracefully glide away. 

Wow! What a special encounter! And to think I almost missed him.  

I'm so glad I remembered to take off the blinders. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Life is too short

An old beach music song "Summertimes Calling Me" by the Catalinas has been looping through my head for a while now.

"Life is too short to worry about the unimportant things..." (Add in your best beach music shuffle here.)

I have ABSOLUTELY no idea why it's looping, but I suspect it's because if God can't get something through my thick skull, he can resort to music for my college years to get my attention.

OK, God you've got my attention.  Now, can you do something to make it STOP? I promise I'll do better.  At least, I'll try.

"Dear God,

I'll do my best...

- to let go of hurts, slights and grudges.  Licking my wounds or mentally condemning others to the absence of my favor has NEVER worked well...Ok, never worked at all.

- to shut down my nagging inner voice... you know the one that constantly second guesses, shames and convicts me of every lame comment or move I make. I could use all that energy asking others for forgiveness or fixing my messes. Duh.

- to worry about tomorrow tomorrow.  If I keep that going I can eliminate worry all together.

- to schedule all those doctors' appointments I've put off.  I do realize health IS more important than my abject fear of stepping on the scale. For me, there is never a number on the scale I'm happy with, so what am I waiting for?

- to treat myself to more exercise each week.  (Are you picking up on my attempt to put a real positive spin on this one? Seriously, I alway feel so much better after a good workout.)

- to find a way to be of service rather than look for ways to be served. (Oh, please! I don't have to explain THAT one to You!)

- to live each day with JOY? Oh, why not, Lord?  I am on a roll.  Amen."  

And Amen.

Go Ahead - Google it!