Saturday, June 25, 2011

May I Have Your Attention, Please.

Before you read any further, ask yourself this question:  “What matters most to you?”

Now, read this: 

"At the funeral of a beloved rabbi, a younger man who had just recently begun his studies with the rabbi turned to one of those who had been a disciple for decades.  "What most mattered to our master?" the young man asked.  The older disciple smiled and answered, "Whomever he was with at the moment." 

…Consider this passage for just a moment.  Think about how it must have felt to be in the presence of someone like the beloved rabbi.  How special you would have felt, how important.  Consider for just a moment how precious it feels to know that you are loved.  That you, your life, is cherished by someone.  That you are not alone.  Take a second to revel in just how good it feels to receive attention from those you love. 

Think for a moment about the people in your life.  How might they feel when they are around you?  Do they feel like the most important person in the world when they are in your presence?  Do they experience the same security, peace, and heartwarming satisfaction that someone might have felt with the rabbi?  Do they feel like they matter to you?  That their well-being, their life, is important to you? And when they are not in your presence, do they still know that your heart goes out to them?  That you are really are there?  What if you learned that they feel like they are just a detail in the backdrop of your life?  That it is really you that matters most to you? 

How do you pay attention to those that matter in your life?

…To pay attention is to show that we care.  Really, it is the most basic expression of love that we can show other people.  Paying attention to someone shows that your hand is outreached to them.  That you want to touch their heart and soul, and that, in turn, you want to be touched by them.  Paying attention tells someone, “I care about you.  I love you.  You matter.” 

So what about when we have missed an opportunity to pay attention?  Does that mean that we have failed as lovers of people?  That we have let that person down?  No, it does not.  Rather, it means that you simply missed an opportunity, or did not take the chance, for whatever reason, to say, “I care about you.”  It does not mean that you did not care.   If you have ever missed such an opportunity, and we all have, it might serve you well to take another look inside of yourself, a different kind of look, and ask, “What is going on inside?  What has prevented me from paying attention?” 

If you are able to earnestly ask yourself this kind of question, I trust that you will also be able to find an answer.  And I trust that that answer will be enlightening for you. 

...No matter how you pay attention to people, I would like to encourage you to be especially mindful today.  Be mindful, my birds, of how you are showing love to people.  Be mindful of if you are showing love to people. 

Take an extra moment to reach out your hand.  Take just one moment to reach out your hand today and allow yourself to touch someone with your love.  Show someone just how important they really are to you.  How much you truly care.  Remind the people you love that you are here, that they are not alone, that they can do it. 

Pay attention today, and open your hearts.  Engage yourself with others, and allow yourself to be touched by their love.  If you are able to do this today, to become genuinely engaged with someone you care about, I think you will find that that person has become more alive to you. That you can see life through their eyes, not just your own.  And I think that if you pay sincere attention to people, like magic, they will become more real to you. 

…Pay attention today, my birds.  Reach out your hand and give someone your love.  Show your beloved birds what matters most to you today.  You never know the impact you just might have.

Ellie Otteson
Wings of HOpe


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