Paying Attention

Have you ever been embarrassed because you were too focused on one thing, or possibly distracted by another?  Perhaps you bumped into someone or something, perhaps banged your head or shin.

One of my first ride-a-longs as a Chaplain with the Spokane Sheriff’s Office taught me just such a lesson; be focused, but be aware by looking around to my surroundings. Image

As a rookie, I was getting familiar with the “rules” of the rider.  I was told to look for things out of the ordinary or out of place.   As we drove through the neighborhoods I was looking around…  it was night, so most people were sleeping.  But when I saw this guy, I knew something was up.  Apparently the cop did too, and the lights went on.  We got out of the car and were talking to guy about his questionable activities, I was focused.  We got the guy’s identification and we walked back to the car.  As we were waiting for the information to return, the cop asked me if I noticed this guy’s friend in the shadows?  Ummm no.  He gave a general position, and when we get back out, I was to put myself strategically between the guy and his friend, ….that I still didn’t see.

As a team, I learned that we each saw something different, but as we shared information the bigger picture came clearer.  I knew the general area of this guy’s friend, and I knew the cop felt a concern, I also knew that this cop trusted me to cover his back while we were out of the car.

With out the helpful hint, I may have missed the threat of the other person.  Without a patient teammate, I may have freaked out if, or when I did spot the one hiding.  I am also thankful for One who watches out for, and over me.  You see, I have faced death six times that I know of (2 electrical shocks, 3 driving, and 1 sailing), and I know that I continue to be rescued.  Each time, I have failed to pay attention to a small detail. But somehow the circumstances have been manipulated for me to survive.


In life, there are things that need our attention, things that take our attention, and things that draw our attention.  I am encouraging you to spend your time and focus on the things that need you, things that you value, and things that are worth your time.  Determine how you will deal with distractions, the things that demand your attention, like emergencies, alarms, and crying babies, as well as the things that subtly draw you attention away from your focus, like grocery lists, deadlines, addictions.  Learn how to filter through the distractions and see what is important.


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