A few weeks ago, I was walking along, having just entered a subway station here in Boston. It wasn’t crowded, but there was a man walking toward me, leaving the train stop, as I was approaching it. Just before he got to me, I heard a loud splat, as his cell phone fell out of his pocket and landed on the ground.
He didn’t seem to notice, and kept on going. I turned around as he passed me, and said, “Excuse me, sir, you’ve dropped something.” But he paid no attention. So, I spoke up louder and caught his attention, and he stopped and … took off his headphones. It was then that finally he became aware of what was going on and could retrieve his expensive cell phone.
He was wearing sound cancelling headphones that blocked out the reality around him, and he wasn’t aware that he was losing a very important treasure.
At one point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus arrives at the house of Martha and Mary. In the house, Jesus is sharing time with the disciples, including Mary. This is prime time grace happening here – being in communion with Jesus. Talking and listening and looking in the eyes – really relating and forming bonds. But Martha is off getting all the serving done in the house on her own, and she is oblivious to the fact that it’s “Jesus time”. She is distracted. And so she can lose the treasure of the moment – until Jesus catches her attention.
We can put distractions into our lives for enjoyment or a sense of accomplishment. The internet, Fox and CNN, our favorite entertainers or musicians, our work or errands or “getting stuff done”. Our Facebook or social media account. But life is really lived in the reality that is right around us. That’s where happiness is conceived and born.
So don’t let the distractions cut you off from the reality of people right around you.
Don’t get distracted.
Don’t lose your treasure.
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Lk 10:41-42)