Games. Travel. Media. Reading. Even housework.
My days are filled with distraction. Sometimes, the distractions distract me from one another, leaving a trail of unfinished projects and tasks.
During some seasons, I deal with them well. My focus may wander but my routines, the rhythms of my days, help me minimize them. In other seasons, the routines crumble and the rhythms change. It is these days and these times when it becomes difficult and even feels impossible to determine which things are important.
Some of the distractions are important and even necessary. These are opportunities for rest and refreshment. They are opportunities to connect with and to help people around me. The days offer experiences that add to the image well and become part of future creative projects from art to poetry and even essay or fiction. The days add character and build relationship.
It took years of frustration to embrace the change of opportunity and focus for each season. Even now I still struggle. I recognize quicker that the distractions are part of a season of rest and renewal. However, I can be a slow learner and, when I expect my routine will remain the same winter, spring, summer, and fall, I set myself up for frustration -- a frustration caused by stubbornness and pride. God gave us seasons as an example in nature. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us there is a season to plant and a season to harvest. There is a season for everything, including rest. I can not plant a garden in January nor can I harvest in March. Why then should I be surprised that in January the images and ideas bubble up and bloom while in July the images and ideas are planted as I hike, garden and explore the abundance of creation alive around me? Just as my houseplants may bloom in January, some writing happens in July. The balance between the two is reflected in the season.
Summer is one of my seasons of distraction - necessary and renewing distraction. This year spring was also a season of distraction, but not the same time of refreshment. It was a time of frustration and excuse. It began with mandated rest and recovery that opened the way for mental spinning as I tried to catch up on everything at once and did nothing at all. Except, as I look back, it wasn't nothing. Mixed in amongst the time wasters were lessons for now and in the future. As I reflect, I notice once again how God uses every circumstance for His glory, even the ones that come from us giving in to the easy way instead of following His nudges and promptings. He redeems our mistakes, our failures, and our lost time. We miss out on the best He had originally planned for us since we gave that up, however temporarily, for our own way.
As I write this, I am sitting surrounded by plants and soft music. It is the perfect space to reflect. Or is it? Outside this terrace the sounds of the city continue. The glass walls that surround this oasis do not block out the horns, the rumbles of large vehicle, or the general hum of distraction. I did not expect to be here. I have a choice to use this as a gift God provided in an unexpected way or to embrace the distraction provided by the bustle of so many people living and working in close proximity. Even that distraction is one of God's gifts. Tomorrow, I will venture out and embrace the images, people, and opportunities God has orchestrated. My writing and my life are improved when I remember to look for God's hand at work. It is only then that I can discern which distractions are time wasters, and which are gifts from God that He is waiting for me to recognize.
Lorilee Guenter is a Saskatoon based writer and artist who is learning to embrace those descriptors. She has learned that if you keep your eyes open you will find nuggets of inspiration everywhere. They are God's gift to fuel her creativity.