Please, don’t distract me …


Elaine Silverstrim - Contributing columnist



Imagine this. You are in your favorite chair relaxing. It’s evening. Maybe the TV is on in the background while you catch up on reading the newspaper, or a magazine or a book.

Life is good at the end of a day where you got a lot accomplished. But it would be just a wee bit nicer with those fur-lined slippers in the bedroom. So you get up and head in that direction.

But then you notice as you pass the kitchen that something needs to be put back in the cupboard, or the refrigerator. A little detour and that side task is quickly done.

The phone rings and you realize it’s from someone you actually know, so you pick it up and chat for several minutes. Call ended, side task done, you’re almost to the bedroom when you realize you can’t remember why you left the comfort of your easy chair. Back to the chair to see if this jars your memory.

Aha! I want my warm slippers. This time you make it to destination and complete the journey. Your Fitbit is delighted with the extra thousand steps you just logged. Now, if only you can recall where you stopped in your reading…

Distractions happen. The details of the above scene can vary a lot, but as we age, we call this the Senior Citizens Exercise Program. There may also be entire days, at work or home when every moment is one distraction after another and the end product is a deep sense of frustration.

As we enter this Second Sunday in Lent and begin the second full week of our Lenten journey, it’s possible that we might have been distracted from our routines, our good intentions, our goals, to make this season a bit more meaningful than the last one. Keeping focus isn’t as easy as we would hope.

The Lesson from Luke 13 which is the reading for liturgical traditions this Sunday has Jesus heading toward Jerusalem. Some well-meaning Pharisees approach him to warn him that Herod is seeking to kill him. The warning is real. We know that Herod makes good on the threat, with some help from Roman law and authority. But Jesus, rather than be deterred or distracted, sends the messengers on their way.

He said to them, “Go tell that fox for me, ‘Listen I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work…” (Luke 13:32)

In other events, Jesus is distracted. He is on his way somewhere and takes a side trip to help a widow grieving the death of her only son, heal a child, cure a leper. But on this his journey to destiny, he essentially tells followers and well-wishers, “Don’t distract me. I have a few last things to do.”

What would it take for our Lenten journey to have that level of focused discipline? Perhaps it would take a terminal medical diagnosis – some kind of date certain, immutable event that won’t wait. Although every Sunday is Easter, we are heading to the Annual Big Easter. That is our spiritual date certain for this year – Sunday, April 21, 2019.

What do we wish to accomplish for this year’s annual celebration of resurrection and new life? This is our year. This is our time and our journey.

By grace, let us not get too distracted along the way…

Rev. Elaine Silverstrim is a retired Episcopal Priest.

Elaine Silverstrim

Contributing columnist