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Kathy's Faith Walk

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When you aren't paying attention

Today I got royally chewed out by a flagger in a work zone. I had it coming. I drove into the wrong place at the right time and she nailed me.

“Didn’t you see those work zone signs?” she yelled.

“No” I replied, because I hadn’t.

“How could you miss them? They are four feet wide!”

“I just didn’t see them” I said.

“Get over there” she ordered, pointing, just like my mother. Ouch.

This flagger tried to make me feel about 8 years old. I wish she had succeeded. Maybe I would have felt less rushed, less responsible for everything in the world, less like I needed a vacation from life. Maybe my aches and pains would have stopped for a moment too. But she didn’t succeed. All she did was make me painfully aware that because of my inattention, I was now in hot water with someone who could, if she wanted to, make my day a lot worse. She was correct. I wasn’t paying attention and she was more right than she knows.

I am pretty practical most of the time. I don’t look for places to assign spiritual value to natural circumstances but that has never stopped God from doing so. It can be… annoying.

“You aren’t paying attention!” The words kept playing over and over in my embarrassed mind and wounded heart. I don’t like being yelled at. After a while the voice became less of the flagger’s, or my mother’s, and more like that of God. I have gotten used to the sound of His voice. “Yep,” I thought, “that’s Him alright.”

I had a lot of time to think because the flagger made me wait until all the other cars had gone through to let me go. I was cornered in my car with her angry eyes on one side and my loving, Heavenly Father on the other. Thus the question: What else, besides the road, am I not paying attention to? I have come up with a rather lengthy list of personal attention deficit crimes, none of which I will share here, but I will say this: the metaphor of driving on the correct section of life’s road in order to hear God better is really perfect. If I start looking at the scenery too much or begin fiddling with the radio or don’t pay attention to the hazard / work signage along the way, I am simply going to end up where I am not supposed to be. Some people may call that an adventure. I know it for what it is: being outside the best interest and purpose God has for me.

My inattentive driving punishment was soon over and the warden of the work zone let me continue down the road. As I drove away, she verbally, and loudly, made a note of my license number, yelling to me “Pay attention next time!” Good grief.

The holidays are here and among other things I have decided to pay less attention to the banter of sales pitches and unreasonable demands on my time and more to what God would have me do. Knowing Him, this is going to lead to “opening my shut-up heart and helping the less fortunate during this festive time of year” as Dickens says. Love God—Love People, for that is following Christ and there is no better example than that to discover the needs of a friend, neighbor, or loved one and meet it.

May we all find the purpose God has for us this season, pay attention, and respond in a loving manner.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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Kathy Osborne Kathy Osborne is the editor of the Co Op Country Store's newspaper, the Co Op Round-Up. In her spare time she checks in on her three grown children, or listens to her husband play music.

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