Mr. Putter is a social eater.
This cat doesn't like to dine alone. Each morning, although there are leftovers in his bowl, he talks to me until I indulge him in his breakfast habit. I must add fresh food (though I sometimes cheat, picking up the bowl and shaking it, as if something delectable somehow enters through the shaking.) But, wait. The food isn't the only issue. If I do not sit with Mr. Putter for a moment and scratch his back, he will not eat. He will look at me expectantly, as if to say, "You know the routine ... why do you torture me so?" until I pet him, at which point he will finally, happily dig in to his meal.
On a related note, Atticus rented the Narnia movie for us to watch with the kids this weekend. During Family Movie Time, he was trying to sneak in a little bit of grading (he's a teacher, you know ... and no, it's really not so odd that a public school teacher homeschools.) Anyway, it's a brutal time of year for an English teacher, and I couldn't blame him for his attempt at multitasking, but the kids, of course, noticed.
"Daddy, you're not really watching! Watch this! Watch this part!" And so he did. Because the kids know that it's no fun to watch a movie with someone if he isn't really there.
And, further related, how many times have I done this: I am typing furiously at the computer when a child approaches me with a question.
"Yes?" I ask, not looking away from the screen.
"Mom, you're not listening."
"Sure, I am ... just let me finish this sentence." And when I do finish that sentence, I turn to the child and must admit that she was right. I wasn't listening.
Mr. Putter at breakfast ... Dads and movie time ... a mother only half tuned in to her child .... The common thread here is, "Am I fully present? Am I really here? Am I listening? Do I care about what these people (and this cat) need from me?"
And all of this led me to think of prayer, and of how easy it is to become distracted. How often do I sit down with God only to cheat, with a metaphorical shake of the bowl? To mentally multitask as I petition? How often do I fix my eyes on something other than Jesus? How often does Jesus have to say to me, "You're not listening"?
Now, I know that we moms do not always have the luxury of a formal prayer time, but the reality of my life, right now, is that I do sometimes have that luxury. I try to use it wisely, but I often fail. I'm sometimes only half-there, not fully present, not truly centered on the Lord and Savior of my life, but rather am allowing my mind to wander to things that are of absolutely no import to my eternal salvation.
God, like Mr. Putter, doesn't like to be alone. That's why He made us. He loves our company, and wants our genuine interaction. He wants to share the movie with us, get us to turn our faces from the screen, and He wants us to listen.
This week, as Holy Week continues, I pray for the grace to pay attention ... I pray that when God says, "Watch this part! Listen! Be with Me," that I will do just that.