Attention Deficit Disorder
Pay Attention! I know, it’s hard, but that’s the point. We are all suffering from attention deficit disorder. We are bombarded with too much information, too much entertainment, too many demands, and we don’t have a minute more in a day than we did fifty years ago. We are as overwhelmed as the levees in New Orleans. Everyone wants our attention. We have all become like the emotionally stressed-out mother with five children pulling at her skirts in the Super Market. We are still sweet, but we are conflicted.
Do you remember when TV was not in “Living Color,” and we watched the Six O’clock News? Now, News pours in every nook and cranny of our cranium and competes for our every conscious moment. There is CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and the Fox News Network; and these are just a few of the three to five-hundred channels that are “channeling” information in our direction twenty-four seven.
Do you remember when there were perhaps three or four choices of toothpaste which was purchased at the local pharmacy (where, by the way, you knew the pharmacist personally)? Now, like Alice in some Wonderland, we explore the local Sam’s Club, or Super K-Marts, or Best Buys and have our consumer immune systems compromised by the commercial equivalent of a hundred carnival barkers.
Like supermarkets, our brains have only so much “shelf space.” Everyone and everything is trying to find a place on the center aisle of our attention. Soccer Moms, with a toddler under one arm, a cell phone in one ear, is pushing her offspring to get a “leg up” on the next kid, while still “putting the best foot forward.” She could be a picture in Grey’s Anatomy of Attention Deficit Disorder. Her children are on the drugs, however, not her. Her children can’t find much room in her crowded Day-Timer and at least the medicine stops the “skirt tugging.” Children sit in the back of the SUV watching a DVD and satisfy a kind of electronic drug addiction.
Like Lucy and Ethel at the speeding confectionary conveyor belt, we are trying our best to “keep up,” but our mouths, pockets, minds and lives are so jam-filled with chocolates, and we are so overwhelmed, we wish someone would slow the thing down.
I think God wants someone to “slow” things down too. Even many churches have become treadmills of so called “ministries,” and “meetings,” and mixed messages. Church calendars are choked with so many activities that it is even hard for God to get our attention. Jesus spoke of the good seed being “choked” after it fell among the thorns. The little seed was no match for the pressing and pricking thorns that competed for “shelf space” in His story. We are so bombarded with intrusions that we have surrounded ourselves with “Spam-blockers,” and “Pop-Up Killers,” and “Do Not Call” lists, that I believe God is wondering, as He did with Adam, “Where have you been?” It’s good that the power fails every once in a while. Our computers don’t work, and the TV is silent. Perhaps in those little patches of thorn-lessness, we will remember to give God our full and un-divided attention. That's what He wants, and what we need most. Perhaps our world will then have much less “disorder.”