Saturday, December 05, 2009

Am I paying attention?

Collage of various Christmas images, made from...Image via Wikipedia

Am I paying attention? I mean does my life feel comfortable, always the same, predictable, boring, nothing new? Have I been to a movie, to a play, to a concert or performance - been to church? Have I tried a different drink in my favorite coffee shop? A different entree from my favorite restaurant? A walk home from the Y, or from the post office or from anyplace?

Have I ever found a hymn in my head in the middle of the day or heard the phone ring just before it actually did? Have I ever started singing "hey you, chitty, chitty bang bang, for no reason? (Sorry, that was mean - quick, think of another song!) Have I ever had one sock slip down on my ankle just prior to standing and walking up the aisle of a church? Have I ever forgotten my phone number or my zip code when the person at the cashier desk asked for one or the other?

Have I ever noticed the woman in front of me fumbling for coins in her purse and been annoyed that she's taking so long? Have I ever made a joke about being blind and then realized that was an inappropriate subject for joking?

Sometimes, sometimes, yes. I don't have a favorite coffee shop. Not often. Hardly ever. Yes, yes, yes, yes on both. Yes, yes. Yes. Get all that? - don't go back!!

Maybe if I was paying attention, I wouldn't feel comfortable all of the time, or ever bored, or predictable or seeking something new but rather seeking something lastingly important to the existence as a child of God. Maybe I would remember, more than just a moment, the real live people to whom I've sent the gifts of water, or a goat, or a micro-loan. Maybe thoughts of favorite coffee drinks and meals would bring to mind those without those luxuries that I perhaps sometimes consider necessities. Maybe a walk would give me a new perspective and an idea of what my Creator would like for me to see in a day.

Maybe when I forget a zipcode or a phone number of my own, I could relax and realize that's normal, not an omen of a foreboding memory disease. Maybe if I was paying attention to the woman in line fumbling with her change, I would think not that she is slow but that she is searching for the last pennies she owns to pay for that quart of milk in front of her. Maybe I should be praying for her and figuring some way to help the poor in my community. Maybe if I was paying better attention, I would not slip and think of an inappropriate comment about someone's disability or life situation.

Advent has my attention this year and is feeling like the season of self- examination, maybe that's supposed to be in Lent and not in Advent......but when I realize how the material costs of "preparing for Christmas" take over my waking hours, I can't help but think also that in "preparing for the Christ child" I should be giving more financially and personally to the lives of those who may never, ever even have a moment to consider boredom, or poverty, or God.

How about you? Are you considering anonymously "gifting" someone in some way that will improve their daily living? It seems a right and proper thing to do in this season of Advent; perhaps a more authentic activity while preparing for the birth of Christ.

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  1. frozen here without a response. memory lapse? a place that needs no words? brain dead? bad joke?

    a post keeps working around in my mind about "the gift" and what that looks like for me (& others) this year. i think i'm paying attention... but then again, maybe i'm not.

    thought-provoking. i think i get how your mind works :-) xooxox

  2. Lucy,
    I think we're paying attention too but there's so much for us to open ourselves to in this coming of the Christ child while feeling tremendous loss in our personal lives. It is a joyous but oh so solemn season.


  3. I'm having a self-examining sort of Advent too, but what I keep coming back to is to lighten up. For some reason the humor of Christmas is really striking me this year - God being born in a stable? It's just goofy. How do I prepare for that except by letting go of heaviness?

    I think I'm going to have to rent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang now.

  4. Pollinatrix - I think "lighten up" is an appropriate phrase for Advent. It sort of goes along with "waken up". The Christmas stories did add up to a big question mark don't they? We had an open sermon/response time this a.m. and I brought up just that idea of the strangeness or even bizarre circumstances that we are asked to believe - first the virgin giving birth and then even after that, the wild man, John the Baptist, hanging out in sheepskins, eating bugs, declaring the way of the Son of God! I mean one needs some imagination for those circumstances! But the funniest of all is that I do believe those stories or that I do believe that God came to earth to be revealed to us through the Christ Child. And, if I couldn't believe those stories, it's enough for me to believe that God created me in order to have fellowship with me and Jesus was the evidence of that creation - wow, did I just sermonize that whole little comment you sent me - sorry!

    Oh, and if you rent CCBB, you won't have to worry about Christmas anymore because that is all you will be singing - you won't be able to hear Christmas carols. xoxo

  5. really thoughtful words SS, love all the questions, and I adore Advent - always the season for self-examination I think. :-) And I have never watched CCBB, and with your song disclaimer, don't think I will! ;-) Advent blessings. xoxo