Rambling on Focus

The lethal weed killer sprayed out of the bottle onto the pernicious weeds. The label claimed that within two hours you would see the results; leaves wilting, stems bending and dandelions begging for mercy. Unfortunately nothing about the weeds were wilting, withering or wasting away on the first day; the same on the second and third days of the application. It was then that I noticed it was a bottle of Spray and Wash that had been used, rather than the bottle of weed killer purchased at the same time. The ladybugs nearby were literally spotless. Walking and chewing gum at the same time is not as difficult as gardening and laundry on the same day. It’s a matter of focus.

Facebook always reminds you of people’s birthdays; one day I was wishing three different friends a blessed birthday when the realization hit that these three were all deceased and I had been the celebrant at one of their funerals. Facebook accounts must have an eternity clause built in; mortality will not dissuade social media from upping the numbers. Recently one birthday announcement read, “Wish Joe Terminovski a happy 120th birthday today!” Odds are that old Joe didn’t bother to mention he was having a meet and greet with Jesus that day. It’s also a matter of focus.

Concentrating is also problematic where five parishes are concerned. The schedule reads, “Baptism today at noon.” Whose baptism? What parish? I find myself looking over old messages and trying to Sherlock Holmes the who and the where. Then comes the game “Dialing for Data.” “Helen, any chance you’re involved in a baptism today? Do you know anybody whose getting baptized today? I’ve already tried Melissa, she didn’t know.” “Ruth, do you know of anyone having a baptism today? Yes? Of course I remember it; by the way, where is it?”

Then there’s the chance meeting at the grocery store, “Father, thank you for what you did for my husband.” The brain kicks into high gear; who’s the spouse, what did I do: burial, anointing of the sick, other prayers, blessing?” A desperate pastor NEVER admits ignorance and so carefully worded statements and questions follow: “It was a privilege to do it.” “How have you been doing since I did whatever you think I did?” “Yes, yes of course, the funeral. He looked good in the coffin. Cremated? Well, I meant he would have looked good if you hadn’t made an ash out of him.”

Then there is the focus on God; most times our spotlight on the Lord is way too narrow. How often do people think and say, “If my parents/spouse/children/friends aren’t in heaven then it won’t be heaven to me.” Who was it that gave you the gift of family and friends? Even that cramps the love of God. We cannot conceive with any theology, spirituality or vision what heaven is, our minds will always be circumscribed by mortality and sin. St. Paul says, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those who love Him.” If have a list of who should be in paradise and who not, it lands you in the precarious position of judging God. There is a blinding light of love which encompasses all people; it takes faith, prayer and losing our own focus to contemplate it.

Handy Hint: It takes two weeks for Spray and Wash to kill weeds.

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