You want the prize. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have filled out the ticket with your information and dropped it in the basket. But then you notice the reminder that you must be present to win. “How badly do I want it?” you might ask. Is it worth it?
I used to wear my multi-tasker badge with pride. Isn’t that why a stove has so many burners? Isn’t a meal better with a variety of side dishes? Do more at once and pull it all together?
And yet, I am learning that there is a difference between coordinating a cohesive effort versus leaping back and forth from one task to another. The latter is an approach to which we’ve become accustomed, dubbed by scientists as “continuous partial attention.” We check our phones while ________(fill in the blank). We are expected to celebrate, “Yes! I can finally watch the game while walking my dog!”
How much are we sacrificing when we do this? When a friend calls to talk and midstream I say, “Sorry, what was that?” because I started reading an email, am I missing the whole point?
Recently I planned a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona with a couple of days built in up front to see my parents in Tucson. My wonderful seventy six year old mother was to drive 3 hours, past her Tucson airport, to pick me up in Phoenix for our visit. This way, my early morning return flight home would be close to my hotel. My travel included a connecting flight in Atlanta. While on the phone discussing business with a colleague, I hustled through the airport- searching for the gate for my connecting flight. By habit, I was about to say “Can you hold on just a second?” move the phone a few inches away from my head and ask an airline employee at the nearest gate to direct me. Instead, uncharacteristically, I said, “Hey, can I call you back in a bit, I need to figure something out.”
As I asked the Delta rep my question about my flight to Phoenix- scheduled to leave several hours later, I noticed the “Tucson” destination on the wall behind her. “I sure wish I could be getting on this flight instead” I said, thinking of the travel time it would save for both my mom and me. Turns out, I could. With a quick call to my mom to make sure she hadn’t hit the road yet and a new ticket issued, I was the last passenger to board before take off.
Thanking the Delta rep for her help, amazed at my good fortune, I said, “God is good.” To which she replied, with a smile, “All the time.”
Must be present to win. Yeah, it’s worth it.
For the Lord has said: “The Kingdom of God is among you,” (Lk 17,21). So virtue has only need of our will since it is within us and originates from us. -Saint Athanasius