When I was in grade school, I was a daydreamer. I could get lost in the view out of the classroom window, in the display on the bulletin board at the side of the room, or in the stories at the back of my reader—although I was never reading the ones we happened to be working on in class that day. “Miss McCann!…Maureen!” was the constant call from Sister to bring me back to whatever we were doing.
I think these days I still don’t always pay attention, but it’s because I get too focused. I have my list, I cross things off of it as I get them done and I don’t let too many interruptions get in my way. A few weeks ago I was in the grocery store making my way around the fruits and vegetables. Two young children were in a shopping cart near their father, laughing and talking to people as they went by. I am ashamed to say that I hardly paid attention to them as I made my bee-line for the celery, and only later as I played it back in my mind, did I realize that they had tried to engage me as I charged past them. What finally brought me back to reality was their giggles as an older woman stopped to talk to them. All three of them were laughing. The older woman was clearly delighted by them, and they were enchanted by her. I had missed the chance, not only to make these children happy, but to share in that happiness.
Of course my life with God is no different, and as I dash through my busy, busy life, I don’t always stop to notice the gifts God places in my path: daffodils, a good apple, or someone “interrupting” my life to say hello. When I miss those gifts, I am less aware of God’s presence, although God is no less present in my life. God is simply waiting for me to slow down, pay attention and say hello. I suspect that even when I don’t realize it, God is holding me close, laughing a little with great love and saying, “Maureen! Pay attention!”