The Disregard of Timekeeping

Posted: April 24, 2007 in Perspective

Oops. 

The above photo appeared in the Decatur Daily this morning.  Apparently, the Honda (gold car) crossed the grass, rolled up the hood of the Mustang (white car) and landed on its side.  Apparently, all this happened simply as the person driving the gold car was trying to park.  Now the article didn’t specify whether the guy was going too fast or whether he just got completely distracted.

Bad things happen when you’re distracted.  We’d only owned our (now gone) 2004 Mazda 6 5-speed for a couple of months, and I was loading Kailyn into the car for a trip to the grocery store or something (yes, I’m WAY too domesticated).  Anyway, I realized that I’d forgotten my sunglasses, so – with the car still running – I got out and hurried inside to grab them.  When I came back out of the garage, I noticed our new Mazda rolling backwards down the driveway straight toward Dave’s brick mailbox with Kailyn staring at me from her car seat in the back seat.  I chased the car down our short driveway, dove into the driver’s seat face first and ripped up the handle on the parking brake, stopping the car halfway into the street and just 7-8 feet from the mailbox.  I was lucky.  The car wasn’t rolling that fast (our driveway’s not steep, by any means), and there wasn’t any traffic on the road.  Kailyn just laughed and said, “The car was rolling” in her best 3-year-old voice. 

I drove the car back into the driveway and just sat there a minute, literally shaking, and pondering how I could have let that happen.  In my haste to retreive my forgotten sunglasses, I’d left the car running in neutral and hadn’t pulled the parking brake up.  In the nearly level driveway, the car wasn’t rolling perceptibly when I’d climbed out.

Basically, I didn’t think.  Why?  I was preoccupied with something else.  I was distracted.  Bad things happen when you’re distracted.  Just yesterday in Madison when I was stopped at a red light a woman next to me skidded right past me and into the intersection.  She was also lucky – no cars were coming.  But wow…  I could see she was distracted looking for something in her passenger seat as she approached.

Distractions abound in my world.  With two kids, lots of bills, and a job that revolves (somewhat) around the after-hours availability of others, it’s easy to get busy.  It’s easy to get tired.  It’s easy to get so caught up in what I’ve got to do that the tasks themselves become distractions.  Then, moments of peace and quiet become bigger distractions as they become increasingly precious in my hectic life.  Mix in the daily distractions caused by ADD and a love for things like….video games…television…then “distraction” could be a one-word adjective to describe my entire life.

The biggest threat of so much distraction isn’t necessarily a car accident… 

It’s frustrating to set goals – for ministry, for personal health, etc. – only to veer away from those goals either because of external influence beyond my control or an incapacity to get a grip on the distractions I bring about myself.  It’s almost as if every action, every habit, or every ‘methodology’ to daily life that I’ve invented over the past 10 years has spun a web around me that invites low productivity.

And that is a problem.  I’m now 35 years old.  By some statistics, that means my life is almost half over (though I’d like to think I’m only 1/4 of the way through my life, since – surely – they’ll have some miracle herbal supplement in a few years that will add years to my life – heck, there are herbal supplements that can do anything, right?).

The way I see it, I have two options:  (1) Continue on the way things are and pat myself on the back for my own ingenuity about fulfilling daily obligations in spite of tremendous obstacles (which is pretty much what I feel like I do now), or (2) change my life – reinvent, shake up, rattle, “rock my world,” revolutionize the way I act.

It really begins with one question:  What am I passionate about?  If’ I’m passionate about me, I’ll do things that benefit me.  I’ll spend my time engaged in activity that caters to my own needs.  In contrast, if I’m passionate about something else, that will get my time.

Where am I spending my time?  Am I dedicated to God?  My ministry?  My family?

Or me?

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