The Journey series
This week I stare at the wrong side of my deadline, victim of today's topic. With spring approaching, I have gardens to prepare and seedlings to start. Nature's deadlines are strict, if I miss them I'll have no crops to harvest. Knowing I have more activities now than through winter, I still walked many frivolous paths. Instead of Netflix and YouTube falling victim to my added duties, I sacrificed my Mustard Seed.
"Father," the voice through the confessional screen said, "this list is almost the same as my last one. I try, but I don't see I'm any better."
"Pick one sin," Fr Bill suggested. "Focus on that. Of course avoid the others, but focusing on the one will help you see your progress."
A few months later the old farmer proudly approached Fr Bill after Mass. "I took your advise. I was always very distracted so I focused on that and now I no longer am!"
"Distraction's a hard one to master," Fr Bill said. "If you've done that I'll give you a prize."
Lou smiled. "How can I show you? What's my prize?"
"Nothing too difficult," Fr Bill replied. "Just say one Hail Mary without distraction and I'll give you my horse."
"That's it?" Lou's heart raced as he confidently began, "Hail Mary, full of — Do I get the saddle as well?"
When I first heard that joke, I wondered just what type of sin distraction is. I quickly classed it as sloth. Later, as distraction invaded my meditations, I saw my rash analysis was itself slothful. Distraction is a bit like a Swiss army knife with a blade for each of the seven deadly sins. Distraction also stabs at all ten commandments. Each time we stray from the straight and narrow path we are branching off to follow a distraction.
A few week's ago I watched Netflix's documentary, The Social Dilemma. It reveals how social media employs psychologists to make their offerings addictive. Usage is monitored to see which elements command most attention. There are no monthly fees for Google, YouTube, et al, but they are not free. Time is money has taken on a new dimension. While we have been watching our money these companies have been picking our pockets of time. Time we spend with them is time we don't spend elsewhere.
We are accustomed to money as a commodity. We must learn to value time as a commodity. Just as we prioritize financial expenses, we must watch where we spend time. Distraction is to time as impulse buying is to budgets.
Next week: I'll pray.