A Phoenix Burning

All I Want for Christmas is…

…a longer attention span?????

So, I went ALL ALONE to Church this morning.  I wanted—-well, okay, NEEDED to be present at Church this morning.  I wanted to devote one hour to focus my attention on the true meaning of this glorious season—one hour to myself to  devote to prayer and peace.  I’m always so distracted at Church when I have the whole family with me that I rarely come out with any deeper understanding or calmness of being.  So today was mine. 

And what I discovered was that my kids are not the reason for my distraction at Church.  I am just simply distractible!  There was no end to my distractions….my head was a jumble of intrusive thoughts.

“Oh, look at that cute baby…so sweet! Awww…he’s getting baptized today! I remember when Mister was baptized…his suit looked almost exactly like that one.  Wait!  FOCUS! FOCUS!”


“Oh, look! There’s one of my former students…wow, he’s gotten so tall!  What was his name?  Kevin? Mike? Jason? No…Kevin, definitely Kevin…..or was it Will?  WAIT!  FOCUS! FOCUS!”

Deep breath.

“I can’t believe John still made it to Church this morning after their great party last night! I know if it were me, I would’ve skipped it….Carly must be home with the kids cleaning up.  I’ll have to call her later to chat about lunch next week.  WAIT! There I go again! FOCUS! FOCUS!”


“What a great sermon he’s giving today…I can’t believe I only have four days left to prepare for Christmas!  What do I have left to do?  Okay, candy…wrapping…gifts for this one and that one…shoot, can’t forget to make those pillows!  Maybe tomorrow?  But wait, I have to go to the mall tomorrow.  And I really need to go visit my Grandmother.  Maybe I should’ve done that instead of coming to Church today.  CHURCH! DAMMIT! FOCUS! (Oops..sorry God!!  I can’t believe I thought the word Dammit in Church.  I’m going to Hell…)”

And on and on it went, until I finally asked God to grant me the serenity of mind to focus for the last 10 minutes of the service and not embarrass myself further with my random thoughts. 

I used to be smart.  I used to be able to pay attention and process information…ponder it, and comment intelligently on it.  Apparently, not anymore.  I think it must be parenthood, and the inability to get through a single thought without interruption that has rendered me incapable of sustaining my attention on anything for more than three seconds.  Or perhaps it’s the years of continuous multitasking that has rendered me incapable of sustaining my attention on ONE thing for any length of time…..my brain is conditioned to do many things at once…being forced to do ONE thing, it breaks into random thoughts of nothingness to give itself the illusion of multitasking so it doesn’t feel itself a failure.  Whatever the case, I DO know that I must learn to attend at Church, not just to attend Church.  I’m sure God doesn’t appreciate my inconsequential musings.  And neither do I. 

I want to be smart again.


3 responses

  1. karma

    I’m going to go with parenthood being to blame. I used to be able to focus very easily. Now I can’t get through a morning of chores without starting 5 of them before I finish one.

    Merry Christmas and enjoy the peace and love of the season.

    December 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm

  2. May I suggest that you take it easy on yourself and try to focus for a slightly shorter period of time to start? You could even try focusing on something inconsequential like a puzzle. You may find that just the act of doing something like that gives you an effect not unlike meditation. I found that when I took figure skating lessons, of all things! I was so caught up with what I was doing on the ice that my mind didn’t wander to other things and I felt mentally refreshed afterward.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, KD! {{{ Christmas hugs!! }}}

    December 21, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  3. Ah yes, I remember being smart. Oh well. It’s funny how life just keeps coming at us, and we do the best we can to meet it on its own terms. In my experience, when the great mystery at the heart of the universe wishes to make a point, we DO hear the message, even through all the static of daily life. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be smart again, but . . . oh look! There’s a squirrel!

    December 28, 2009 at 9:43 am

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