The girls alternated washing dishes as work/entertainment this afternoon. I was working on sorting some files on the computer, and usually this is a win/win situation – they have fun with water in a mostly non-messy way, and I get some time to work on other things. Cassia had her turn until she caught wind there might be food available. So Felicity took over.
I know Andy’s told me many times how amazing the brain is – it can filter out many things so that we are not overwhelmed and can focus to get the priorities (or procrastinating, in many cases) done. The homeschool conference I went to had a great keynote speaker (Terry Small), a neuroscientist, share the same information with a bit more elaboration: our brains filter but sometimes we miss things that can be important because we’re focused on the wrong things. For example, this short video completely explains it (it’s only 1 minute 22 seconds – so worth the short time):
For context, my 3 year old saw it and caught it right away.
Going back to washing dishes. I was working on the computer organising a whole bunch of files and photos and fonts that I get for free every week, but have failed for the past month or two to organise in any fashion. It’s been clogging up my desktop for weeks and today was the day for me to dig in and organise it.
And suddenly, in the midst of successfully deleting a .zip file after extracting and sorting it, I noticed that the water was running. Was Cassia getting some water to drink? No, she was sitting under the table. Who’s at the sink? -Felici- aw crap! And so I rushed to the kitchen and caught the mess just as it was over flowing. And in and amidst that overflowing sink sat a toddler. My toddler. With pants. With socks. With a diaper. So apparently moving files on a computer completely makes me not notice important noises and sounds I should be attuned to while watching a little girl at a sink. I felt a little like this at this point:
I thought I was paying attention. I wasn’t. Well, not enough for it to not progress to making a mess.
Terry Small also pointed out that even when our electronic devices are within visual perception, even when turned off, we are 25% less attentive to what’s happening. In my case, it was nearly 100% with those files and the water-disaster. Terry’s presentations got me thinking about how distracting my phone is to my family. It affirmed my Lenten choice to avoid social media while I have the kids with me so that I could make sure I’m making them my focus and not having 25% of my attention wandering to social media, even just by the presence of my phone, as it often does.
I think this is relatable to our spiritual lives as well; we often just get on with our lives and don’t intentionally take time away from our regular ‘stuff’ to make sure we’re connecting with God. We’re so interconnected with our material life we neglect our spiritual aspect because it’s not so tangible – we’re looking for the basketballs, not the gorillas. But just because we’re good at filtering it out doesn’t mean it’s not there or that it doesn’t affect us.
Taking the journey of 1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp has been a powerful reminder that unless we choose to look for the gift, to see God, we almost certainly will not see it, or the abundance of it. I struggle and am still working on that challenge and am hoping it can continue to be an avenue that God can work diligently in my life.
So how have you been missing gorillas in your life lately?