See it There?
Off the Wall, February 26,

How many times has one walked up to you and stated, “Hey, did you see the smoke coming from the building over there?” or “Look at the leaves on the trees. Isn’t this a wonderful time of the year?” and finally, “Did you see that red vehicle go speeding down Ligonier Street right through a school zone, can you tell me why?"

I’m sure our minds weren’t concentrating on those thoughts when we were approached. In essence, they were all distractions, weren’t they?

Stop a minute and give thought to the fact just how many ways our minds wonder from the very thing we’ve set out to do.

Take Stanley Sitstand, a senior citizen, for example. He will be the first one to tell you if he sets off to do something and sees something along his path during his mission, he may forgot all together where he is going and what he intended to do when he got there. No one knows better than this fellow how frustrating life can be when all of a sudden he finds himself doing something completely different than what he set out to do in the first place.

Little Johnny Pooshopple, 4, of Jusdrible, Florida, was playing on his swing, swaying back and forth, not really thinking of much of anything other than to try to pull himself forward enough so that he could feel the wind as he felt pulled back. Noticing his mother approaching calling him, he slowed to the point of almost stopping. “Johnny,” she called out, “I just baked some chocolate chip cookies. Would you like to have one with a glass of milk?” Quickly he pushed himself away from the chains and seat and hastened to her. His pleasure was interrupted by something much more to his liking.

One may be smiling to this amusing little story, but again, I ask, how many ways are we distracted and end up doing things that were altogether different than our original intentions?

Brian Barsnopple, Pecoe, Nebraska, enjoyed during yard work. It was a way of relieving his stress, raking out his tensions and somehow, leaving all his anxieties on his lawn. He had told his wife, Molly, that he had great plans to perfect the yard’s appearance by dusk. All was going well as planned. All of a sudden who came walking down the street, a fellow parishioner, Paul Duzwritte. They both greeted each other warmly and a lengthy conversation pursued to the extent that Barsnopple lost sight of his intentions. Hours passed and he realized there would be no chance to complete the project. In as much as it was nice to talk to his friend, additional stress had set in as he did not know when he could complete his projects.

Youth, nowadays, have distractions. Parents bring them up to a certain age hoping they will mature according to the standards taught by them and grandparents. However, when integrated with others, somehow in wanting to fit in with their so-called friends, they are led down the road of committing acts that are looked down upon. I asked one teen about peer pressure, and he said, “Pee Vee, you just don’t know…” That told me everything I wanted to know. I could understand right there what he was saying.

Reading above, I’m sure you or acquaintances can identify with Sitstand, Pooshopple, and Barsnopple. Instead, let’s direct one’s attention to something many people do, but fail to realize that they are going about their business, casually avoiding the task at hand employing “mental misdirection.”

One has entered church his on the way to finding his seating. What happens after his ten feet past entering? Immediately he looks around to see if there is anyone he knows? He forgets momentarily what he was doing and gives attention to his friends. Finding a space on a pew, he sits down readying his thoughts toward prayer. He notices a white tag hanging out of the clothing of the person in front of him. Once again, his attention has been diverted and his focal point has become another distraction. A person may walk down the aisle with holes in his jeans. What must he be thinking?

Distractions will always play a part in our lives no matter what we are doing. This Lenten season let’s teach ourselves to concentrate on our missions. How do we do that? Rely on God to help us and He will. It’s as simple as that.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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