Last Sunday afternoon I was in a meeting after church with a few other church leaders. Our facilitator went around the room and asked us to introduce ourselves. One of the questions she asked us to answer was "Tell us about something interesting that happened during the last week."
This should not be a hard question. Right?
But when my turn came at the table, I drew a blank. What was something interesting that happened during the past week? I couldn't think of anything.
I wanted to excuse myself and go into my office and stare at my calendar for a few minutes. Because interesting things happen to me all the time. I have conversations and go to the hospital, and kneel down to talk to small children. I was sure if she could give me a minute I could think of something.
I felt like somehow, I had not been present during the past week. Had I let a whole week go by without paying attention? I had to do better.
I remembered going to the bookstore a couple of days before. This is a big outing for us. It's a sort of a mental health break during the week. I usually spend a little time checking out the current magazines. I notice that there are a lot of magazines these days with names like "Breathe" and "The Mindfulness Journal" and "10 Minutes to Mindful Living."
I am not sure what Mindfulness is, except that it is supposed to be good for you. I suspect that it is the exact opposite of letting a whole week go by without noticing when something interesting is happening to you. I suspect that it has something to do with paying attention. Maybe if you pay attention, there are more interesting things going on than we think.
There are the mockingbirds building their nests, there are people holding hands and praying in hospital rooms, there are tiny flowers pushing their way up in front of the sanctuary. There are small children who wave at me when they are leaving pre-school in the afternoon. There are people who will dare to tell you a story from their life, if you are wise enough to listen. There are poets whispering words into your ears, and the azaleas are preaching.
I am not going to say that suddenly this week everything was better, that I started paying attention suddenly. Life is still a blur sometimes. But I am hoping to snatch a moment, here and there, like the little boy who was so excited that he got to go to chapel on Wednesday. Like mist on the windshield, or the touch of anointing oil, when someone asks for prayer.