Thursday Reflection 1.17.19

Thursday Reflection
Thursday, January 17, 2019
“What is God Calling me to do?”
         I think I’ll leave Abby out of this week’s musings! (She is starting to “want a piece of the action,” and I don’t feel like sharing any portion of the “millions” I make in bonus money for writing this column)!
         How well do any of you tune out the “noise” around us? As a kid who found it impossible to study if TV or radio were on, it is surprising that as much work gets done at the church office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For those who are unaware, on those days, our Early Learning Center’s Two Year Old’s Program takes place in the “classroom” next to my office.
There are many many little two year old humans reacting with joy, sadness, glee, terror and crankiness at the thought of being dropped off by mom (or dad). If you are looking for peace and quiet, time for prayerful meditation, or the pacific journey into some mystical experience, then TRUST ME, you do not want to be near this office on those days. Play time is loud time. Learning time is loud time. I’m sad because mommy is leaving me is very loud time. It is the wonder filled stuff of childhood, and as a priest and grandpa, I marvel at the beauty of what goes down in that room.
But I am also moderately proud of myself for having learned to “tune out” all the action background noise seeping through thin walls. I am learning to laser focus on what needs to be written / read or the person with whom I am speaking. (Spoiler alert: on Friday the Bishop’s assistant [“point person”] who is coming up from NYC to set up the details for the Bishop’s Pastoral Visitation in a few weeks is going to be meeting with me, in this office, with this joyful noise. This is what we call a “teachable moment” – what life is like in the real world)!
But this is all an introduction for me to question: are we still able to tune out the noise that so dominates 21st century USA life? Can you focus on what is important in the midst of the shouting, the anger, the fear, the false assumptions, the lies, the pain that all conspire to distract us from what our life’s journey is really about. “Talk” radio has become “screeching” radio and whether the object is sports or politics, all we hear is noise. Can we tune the racket out and focus on solutions and not scream and blame for the problems.
And, speaking as one who needs the “quiet” (and is the stone thrower living in the glass house), can we make more time to make quiet around us. I think the lyrics of the song went: “all we need is love”  and not “all we need is noise.” I know this comes as a shock to many, but not everyone needs to hear my voice or read my thoughts at every moment of every day. There really is need for quiet time – and then maybe some one-to-one conversation. Who knows? Maybe we start to become reflective and gentler in our dealings with the other, and maybe if the background noise that infests life is managed, there will be less need for columns like this. (And then Abby says I can spend more time writing about her).
Fr. Joe