Sliding Off of Hills
During morning prayer time at Kinnoull Monastery yesterday before I left for Edinburgh I had the image of a truck driver backing up his truck on a windy hill…not quite paying attention to what was going on around him. While concentrating on his task of backing up, the front left tire went off the road…and the truck was in danger of sliding down the hill. I actually think I was starting to fall asleep and beginning a dream (this northern light that pours into my window until after 10 p.m. and wakes me up in the morning before 4:30 a.m. is my excuse). Anyway…as I reflected on that image I realized how fitting that picture can be for me. I am often so intent on completing the task before me or at getting where I want to go that I miss paying attention to things around me in the moment that I should pay better attention to.
While walking through Kinnoull hills with Goodwin (a Catholic Brother working with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity) I was so intent on finding the right trail for us to be able to get to where we were going that I failed to see the deer that Goodwin noticed. Shortly after that I nearly missed another deer. After that I did a better job of watching for the deer in the woods than just looking for the trail.
The second example bothers me more. I wanted to extend some words of encouragement to two people from the course at Kinnoull who were on my heart. While getting ready to leave I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to talk with each of them. When I finished what I wanted to do that morning and got all packed for traveling I started to leave the monastery. It happened to be right at the time of the morning tea break, so I went in to see if they were there. Edmund was having tea, so I got a chance to say to him the words of encouragement I wanted to share. Then I hurried away. I didn’t wait for Sue to show up because I was focused on getting to the bus stop on time. I got there about 20 minutes early. I got my bus, but I didn’t share words of encouragement with Sue that I wanted to share with her. I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to talk with her…but I did not give God much chance to answer that prayer. I am certain that if I had waited a bit she would have shown up for tea…but I was too focused on getting to the bus stop.
How many other times in life do I “slide down the hill” while overly focused on the task I want to complete?