Undivided Attention

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Now, what was I saying? My attention span is not very long these days. I say these days because I don’t remember which day it was that I began to forget when I stopped being able to catch up, to keep up with one day after another. Like these sentences, they all run together. And my life has become one long ramble. Please someone stop me. Interrupt this pattern, this pathological preoccupation.

I want to be fully present and in this moment, to live in the here and now. But, what’s that up ahead and what are we going to do next? What can I expect? What can I look forward to and what did I miss?

I want to give everything my attention, to be up close and personal with all the happenings of the world. The worldwide web catches me sleeping as I try to catch up on all the things that are trending, but there are headings and subheadings. With each click, I am no closer to knowing it all. As if there will be a cultural quiz at the end of the week, I read and try to remember all of the latest deals and finds, the top stories and breaking news, what’s in and out, what’s hot and what’s not. My attempt at being omniscient is a failed one.

Yet, omnipresence in the palm of my hand, I touch the screen and I am connected to the world. I can bear witness to threads but then I realize that this is only a shred of evidence of what it means to be human. I rub my eyes and try to pay attention, to take it all in. Overwhelmed, my hands are in my head.

Head bowed, my body remembers what I am supposed to do now. God, Lord, Abba, Jesus… Head in hands now, I fold. I cannot take it. There is so much that I want to know and do. All things to all people, how did the Apostle Paul do it (1 Cor 9:22)? I have to confess that I am not striving to be there for them but trying to be like You. I want to work so hard that I don’t need You. Forgive me.

It is with this confession that I realize God in a new way. In prayer, I have God’s undivided attention. Not to be compared with the phone in my hand, God holds the world and yet keeps an eye on me, listens out for me even when I ramble.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the interim pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.

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