Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm WITH Him

Riley got me thinking last night.

[Yes. The dog got me thinking. He’s the only thing that moves around here, so that statement shouldn’t sound as ridiculous as it does. :)]

Anyway, Riley got me thinking about the fact that I used to be a major multitasker. In my “before” life I would have been watching TV, talking on the phone and writing this blog post all at the same time. I would rarely read a book without also listening to music. In college, I didn’t enjoy studying at the library... I’d rather go to the Union and let the general murmur of activity and people lull me into focus on my studies or frequent 20 page papers.

I grew up in a house with five siblings.

Noise was the background of my world.

That’s not who I am anymore. In this “after” life, I crave silence. And I do not multitask. Ever. If I am responding to an email, the music gets turned off. If I am reading through tweets or blogs the television is turned to mute. If we are talking on the phone, you can be assured I am doing nothing but listening to the sound of your voice.

Whatever is in front of me gets my full attention. And I like it better this way.

Just because we aren’t face to face doesn’t mean your words on the screen are any less important to you. Just because a friend can’t sit in my living room doesn’t mean they don’t need my undivided attention. Life, I have learned, is meant to be savored. And we are missing so much of it.

Be honest. How many times have you been on the phone, folding laundry, keeping an eye on your kid while half-heartedly paying attention to the movie they are watching on the TV, only to realize you have no idea what the person on the other end of the phone has said for the last three minutes?

I’m not criticizing. I know we live in a world where life doesn’t get done unless we do it all at the same time. It’s just that my life changed for me, and that’s when I realized all I was missing. I don’t multitask now because the pain is relentless and my focus isn’t what it used to be. I don’t sleep much anymore and the exhaustion has fried my brain. We won’t even talk about the 23 different medications I take.

I am your brain on drugs. Any questions? :)

I have to focus. Life made me focus. And I realize now I should have spent more time focusing as a choice instead of what it is now: a necessity.

What does Riley have to do with any of this?
He doesn’t want pieces of me. He wants my full attention.

My dog wants eye contact. He’s not interested in my attention so I can throw toys or rub his chest. Those are a means to an end for him. He wants me. He can be laying next to me as I scratch his ears and he will whine... until I stop looking at the book and look him in the eye. He knows the difference between being appeased and being acknowledged. He knows the difference between quantity and quality. He knows I’m with him all day, but he’s not happy unless I’m WITH him. Looking him in the eye. Seeing him so he can see me.


This pup teaches me a lot.

I’ve learned focus is the difference in my prayer life. I’ve learned that when I read my bible and talk to God and then turn on the TV, I’ve appeased God instead of acknowledging Him. I’ve put in some time and then gone about my business, assuming the rest will take care of itself. But if I’m always busy, always surrounded with noise, always occupied, I will never hear Him. I will never listen.

Sometimes the pain and activity of my body is so loudly incessant that I crave the quiet just to balance my existence. But it has been in those silent times, when my mind drifts into thoughts and topics at random, that I get sparks of Him. I get an idea or a conclusion or a peace that I know has nothing to do with me. But I have to be quiet. He knows I’m with Him all day, but He’s not happy unless I’m WITH Him. Seeing Him so He can see me.

Anyway, Riley got me thinking today.

When I was quiet and looking him in the eye.

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