Pay Attention!

child in shopping cartWhen 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!”

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Maureen McCann Waldron
Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism and then spent 22 years in corporate public relations. After receiving her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton, she joined Andy Alexander, SJ, in Creighton’s Collaborative Ministry Office.


  1. I could have written this article myself. It seems my days are overflowing with things to do. I can’t work as fast as I used to, therefore my list keeps growing. I promised myself this Lent I would try to spend more time with the Lord. Some days I have been successful, others not so. I keep trying……

  2. I saw so much of myself in your article, Maureen. Lists rule my life as well! I blame my need for them, in part, because of age and poor memory. But I have always been a highly organized person….sometimes to a fault. Preparing for Easter brunch this year, I have to keep reminding myself to calm down, ease up, relax……it will all get done….it always does! Yet I think I have re-written my to-do lists several times already!
    It was good to hear that I am in good company, though! Thank you for sharing your reflection, and have a blessed Easter!

  3. Hi there.
    I guess just taking these few moments to context with you all, is a little sign that this is one of those moment when I can recognise God speaking to me.
    Thank you

  4. I too was (am) a daydreamer, sometimes they diagnose it un-medicated (or un-meditated) ADD, and even though one might be naturally inclined to more peripatetic thinking, the busy-ness and inattentiveness is the issue. The fact that the experience resonated with you later that day is still a sign of you deeper faith, and even though we cannot connect (or pay attention to) every clip like that, we do often miss the God-moments! Thank you for sharing this moving witness!

  5. How easy it is to live a life of gratitude if only we pay attention. Thank you for this insightful article! It’s easy to get bogged down with the daily tasks and dismiss what’s in front of us.

  6. It’s interesting how God does that to us – hello there, how’s it going, just letting you know that we need to spend some time together. Life can get so full of busy that we need to be reminded about what’ important. Thanks for sharing!


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