Oct 29, 2010

Don't Get Distracted

by Tanya Parker Mills

My husband's away on a trip and it's quickly made me realize how dependent and inattentive I've become.

On Wednesday, as I parked the car outside my son's voice teacher's house, I was in a hurry to continue reading the book I'd started and wasn't careful to turn the ignition off all the way. Since my cell phone was still connected to the battery charger, by the time my son came out at the conclusion of his lesson, we both learned the car wouldn't start. (Fortunately, we have a AAA membership.)

Then yesterday, after I'd picked Jason up from school, I stopped to fill up for gas. It's gotten colder of late, so I wasn't content to stand out by the gas pump and wait. Instead, I sought warmth and comfort inside my car. I glanced back a few times to check the register and was surprised when it went past $55. Still, as long as the gas kept pumping, I stayed inside the car. Then another car pulled up on the other side of the gas pump and the driver alerted me to the fact that I was overfilling and gas had begun pouring out and onto the concrete. I had assumed, having set the pump handle correctly, that it would automatically click off like always. Fortunately, we caught the error before too much had spilled. (In case you're wondering, if you have the hose inserted at an angle--which I did this time--it can deactivate the sensor that usually clicks off the pump when the tank is full.)

This morning, it all came together in my mind as I first read a headline in the newspaper ("Distractions Costing Lives") for a story about how six road fatalities in our area in the past month were linked to driver inattention...and then later, in my scripture study, I read more of the parable of the Lord of the vineyard with his olive tree (in Jacob, chapter 5). In one of the verses I read this morning, the master tells his servant (after having him dig about the tree, and prune and nourish it), "Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words." How often we are admonished in the scriptures to "watch." It's to keep us alert, awake to the wily ways of Satan, and prepared for anything the Lord would have us do.

How alert are we as writers? Are we watching for class or contest opportunities that might further develop our craft or career? Are we noticing trends in publishing that will affect us and preparing to use them to our advantage? Or are we getting distracted from our work by spending too much time with email, Facebook, or Twitter?

We can't afford to let writing time and opportunities pass by, like gas overflowing at the pump, simply because we're not watching.


  1. Great point, Tanya. Paying attention has been a big lesson for me as of late as well. Very important! I injure myself all the time because of inattention...and once in awhile, I injure someone's feelings because I am not paying attention to their needs. On the other hand, I find lost of opportunities to serve well when I pay attention.

  2. And the older I get, the more important it becomes. My body can't handle all the missteps I used to make!

  3. That's right where I am in my scripture reading. It's a long chapter, but several verses are very meaningful--like the one you mentioned.

  4. Great post, Tanya,

    As one who lives in a household of ADHD sufferers, I can relate to the topic!

    I often think of the saying, "am I overlooking what I ought to be looking over?"

    Thanks for the post.

  5. I find I miss oppportunities in all areas of my life due to inattention thus lack of preparedness. I can't take injuries at this stage in life. I have to improve.

  6. I feel like my life is a distraction.


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