We’ve all done it, whether we admit it or not — found our mind wandering when it should have been focused.
Perhaps we were stuck in a boring meeting at work when we’d have rather been outside playing golf. Perhaps we were
subjected treated to yet another dissertation from a friend bewailing her significant other’s lack of sensitivity, while our thoughts pondered recipes for dinner. Perhaps our children were giving us a blow-by-blow discussion of everything that happened at school that day, while we were trying to navigate traffic.
Wandering minds seems to be a casualty of our busy society. But it’s one thing to have your mind wander. It’s another to be actively distracted.
Take this weekend, for instance.
I was at church when a father, mother, and their teenaged daughter entered the pew right in front of me.
Now, whose mind hasn’t on occasion wandered at church? There’s something familiar and soothing about the recitation of the prayers. And Saturday evening Mass is sandwiched between the busyness of the day and the calm of the evening.
Too, most priests aren’t “fire-and-brimstone” preachers. They read their homilies from a stationary position, droning on until suddenly, you realize they’re done and you have no idea what they said! Teachers must encounter the same blank stares from an audience that’s primed on excitement and drama, on 15- and 30-second TV slots (or worse, instant surfing on the Internet!)
The teen in front of me spent most of the Mass checking her smart phone, texting friends and the like.
Oh, she tried to hide it. She kept it in her palm or tucked it in the waistband of her jeans. But she was texting. No doubt.
Domer, seated to my left, recognized it right away. To my right, Mom was oblivious.
The girl’s parents, perhaps fearing her anger, didn’t bother reminding her that cell phones don’t belong in church. Nor did they insist she put it away or turn it off.
Maybe she had a legitimate excuse for texting in church, but I can’t think what would be so important that it couldn’t wait 45 minutes.
Maybe her parents were just relieved she was there, perhaps assuming that meant she wouldn’t “fall away.”
Sorry, but attendance in body and not in mind isn’t really attendance.