Distraction & Yellow Stars
From the high completion of a three hour block of church, my Pearl tentatively, happily rolls over a small rise, past Miss Ruthie’s centurion white frame house. Jovial girls and I bounce along, past a row of newly planted shivering trees that stand goose bumped at attention in Cade’s three year late newly landscaped yard.
Past a red boldly etched sandstone marker that reads Williams Ranch, heralding our little postcard picture lane framed on the fringe by barb-wired fields. On the eastern edge of tar chip my gaze is held by a line of reaching cottonwoods, arthritic winterized, ether sputtering military wild land firetrucks with pumps, shredded wheat haystacks, and a county deputy’s pitch black patrol car, to the west, like the Lone Ranger’s Tonto.
The sun is bright and soaring with our spirits on this Sunday afternoon. Pearl jogs around the twist tie, past Vern’s corral, Homerville, and Hap’s barn. My mind opens up like our little valley. I scan the fields and fence lines taking stock of Cory’s livestock on the leased spread to the south. Here something catches my eye.
Something moves in the peripheral. Something black. Large and small in contrast. It’s one of Vern’s black angus cows and calf. She is industriously licking down a brand new bally-faced calf in utter enjoyment.
The calf is not up yet. This small boy is enjoying the rub down its mom is giving. A red after birth dangles still warm and steamy with umbilical cord life pulsing from a bony rear end. The mother is not the least bit concerned about her appearance or display. Instinct is in the drivers seat in being a proud new mom on an almost spring afternoon. Everything else matters little. She holds a complete and perfect focus on her little one. She is teaching me.
“Ew, gross!” cry my teenage girls.
“She must have just had the calf,” I comment. “After-birth and cord still need to deliver.”
“Ew!” they repeat.
“A miracle.” I say. “Life.” Some day I think my girls may understand.
We drive on. Again something catches my eye. A massive bird in almost slow motion swoops up, circles low and lands again. It’s large white head and matching tail feathers give way. It’s brown, powerful wing pulse, and giant talons touch down near a deer carcass announce its purpose. Prey.
Pray. I kind of do, and like many mornings in concluding the pledge or in singing the National Anthem, I close in saying Amen, and raising a proud hand to “…the Home of the Brave.” I am grateful.
“Eagle,” says Devon.
“Yes. It is an eagle.” No turkey, I think. In spite of this magnificent creature in full grace and powerful beauty, Pearl continues along the lane, a path she knows well. I lock focus on the symbol of our country and a mascot of the little, most loved elementary school that I tread five days a week encircled by my own flock of sparrows and magpies.
My attention is trained and tethered to this subject, this distraction in raptor action. And then rapid eye back to the road. Jerk the wheel at just the last moment, last second before careening off the road into the dug-way. Phew! Close one.
My other driving daughter follows not far behind. I wonder what she thinks I am doing. Goofing off? Playing keep away from pot holes? Teasing her? Spacing off?
Truth is, I am DISTRACTING!
I am a master of distraction. A pro in being both personally intentionally distracted, and in being unintentionally distracted. Also, at times, in distracting others. Sometimes it is fun and met with smiles, laughter, and is fairly welcome. This can pump up moral and boost positivity. It is important to remember that all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Humor, laughter… Needful.
Distraction is sometimes desired toward good PR with public and highly impressionable children. In rare occasions this even helps in impressing picky State Title One auditors. I am grateful this works to our advantage toward passing for another five years. Charmed.
Sometimes DISTRACTON is not so welcome in becoming a disruptor to business at hand though. I am interpreted more like a undesirable PAPER JAM in the copy machine. Still. A1 is what the error reads. I prefer to think “steak sauce” instead of expletives when given this choice and response to make. Positivity is at stake after all. But sometimes I move more toward unproductive in promoting excess of a good thing gone too far; of promoting self and a loud high, past quieter fine line boundaries. An addiction I like to feed. Hm.
Why does this spin off feel so good I wonder? I mostly stand alone in this practice. The other silly moved on to a county job. We sang praise in “Happy, Happy Birthday,”and ate cake not so long ago. Now I fly solo most days missing Latin Peggy.
I once told a friend who judged my practice undesirable, “Sometimes the best parts are the distractions.” I think of the Martha/Mary story of Jesus’ visit in that home. Of how Mary was compelled to pause her chores to be present in conversing with her Lord. He even complimented her for “finding the better part.” So, on this day I was called to task, I wanted to say, “Change your thinking!” But, she was right. I had gone too far. I go too far. Still, how to say this questioning to the boss. You don’t. I sometimes want to though.
What is “the better part?” I wonder. Work? Or Play?
I think DISTRACTION is not all bad. Sometimes problematic though in lost productivity. But good in the art of magic and illusion. Good in engaging children in learning, or away from negativity and an unwanted behavior from a naughty student.
Sometimes a distraction can even work to save your life. The best example is of Sivia Perlmutter’s father. He saved his Jewish family at the round up to the death trains headed to Belsen during the Holocaust.
In the amazing biographical book Yellow Star, Papa and family go the opposite direction, against the grain, in using a huge crowd of star crossed Jews as cover. The forward moving crowd becomes a disguise and a distraction enabling their miraculous escape to freedom.
Still, say what I may, I feel I need to find greater focus. Perhaps if I place a sticky yellow star on the task at hand, I would focus and stay with it to its end.
Sometimes a distraction is used in the movies or on stage. Like when some hero citizen, batman, or cat woman purrfect villain hero distracts a bank robber and saves the communities from theft. Why are these dark ones so appealing to me?
The distraction that is most harmful to me, however, is one of thought processes and beliefs. If I allow myself to move toward untrue and unwise, I can become deceived, blind to truth and wisdom altogether.
I avoid the scene of running off the road and into a ditch or fencepost…this time. And I have avoided a couple of devastating outcomes of prideful distractions and addictions in life, mostly. Praise Jesus. But in the scope and sequence of my blunders, I am not in the clear. I wonder if one could distract from the distractions long enough to dial into a needful righteous FOCUS more on demand.
I have succeeded in this thing before. This time the stakes are much greater though. I need to learn this lesson and procede this time with greater wisdom. I need God’s love, and Jesus’ plan of Salvation with Him as my Savior. I can only save myself to a point. My yellow star has six points. Ouch.