If we are paying attention, (and often we are not), life gets our attention with a gentle movement of air, like a feather.  Sitting still, our mind is quiet and we become aware that we have discovered a solution to a problem.  Figuring it out has seldom worked for me. Life really isn’t a math problem to be solved. This is good news for me as math has never been my best subject. 

It turns out sitting and being still is  productive, or at least a gateway to getting out of our own way.  “Be still and know that I am God.” has always been so comforting to me. If only I made it my first choice. 

“Excuse me.”  Someone around us wants our attention, often times to get us to move out of the way or listen to what they have to say. Excuse me is a polite way to ask permission to enter someone’s personal space. Usually “Excuse me” is said a couple of times and louder if need be. If I am not aware of my surroundings and the people near me, I become deaf to their words and presence. I may not hear them or even see them. My personal space can be a lonely space without contact from the outside. One is a lonely number, and ours is the only opinion

“Mom watch me!” As a child, whatever move Tyler had mastered he wanted to show me. Such innocence in his request, and I didn’t always watch. If I had to do it over again I would watch every time and tell him how great he was. Sometimes he would catch me not listening to him, (other things were so important) , and he would demand “Mom, listen to me. You’re not listening.” And later I would demand the teenager, Tyler, to listen to me.  “Stop texting and look at me, pay attention to me!” Sooner or later we will be “called out” by loved ones if we are not paying attention. We all need to feel like we matter and are worthy of others attention. The voices in my head can be pretty demanding too. “Why are you doing this? You know better than this.” Even if I know how things will turn out I may fool myself into thinking that this time will be different. The voices in my head can direct me to positive and negative actions. Do I always have to listen to those voices? Can I trust myself? 

At times, life seems like a whack-a-mole arcade game and I am not wielding the mallet. Is it all random? I’m just going along, minding my own business and bam I get hit on the head. I could be left with a mild headache or a severe head injury. Life has my attention now, and I better be listening and learning. Denial can be a first response but it better not be the only and the last response. I could get back to this silly whack-a-mole game and not even realize that there are different games that don’t require a sledgehammer to get my attention. And still it’s the sledgehammers of Rogers dementia and death that have fundamentally changed me. I had to pay attention, even when I thought I would be unable to live with the truth. Today in the still, quiet moments or in the hectic beat of daily life I never forget what the sledgehammers have taught me and I am a better person because of this.

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