Driven to distraction

by | Nov 13, 2015 | Formation, Reflections

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In his weekly Servant Leader in the Frédéric’s E-Gazette November 12, 2015 SVDP CEO reflects on drivers driven to distraction, our spirituality and our mission. He writes…

On three separate occasions last week my car was nearly hit by someone running a red light or a stop sign. Being the first in line to wait for the light is becoming an unacceptable risk!

In two cases the driver speeding by in front of me was looking at or speaking into a cell phone. The third person from what I could gather was trying to race the “orange” light instead of simply stopping.

We live in a world of increased multitasking, constant communications and constant rushing around. I always wonder who all those drivers needed to speak to, and how they managed in the olden days before cell phones to wait until they reached a land-based phone.

Is everything really so urgent? I have a phone that connects to my car audio. This enables me to speak hands-free when someone phones me on the cell or in more rare instances when I phone them from the car. But I must admit that sometimes when I do this, I find myself blocks or miles ahead without a clear memory of where I just drove. I think I followed all the laws to drive responsibly and I went where I wanted to go, but honestly, I can’t always remember getting there.

Even the hands-free phone call distracts me from full attention to the driving. This scares me.

That’s why I can appreciate so much the part of our Rule and Vincentian tradition to begin each meeting with a prayer. After so many years in secular business settings, this took some time to get used to, as most meetings started with half of us staring at our phones and the rest of us chitchatting or busily preparing for our role at the meeting. We weren’t really all “present” at the start of the meeting even if we were all sitting together. Our minds were often elsewhere.

There’s a management mantra of “Be Here Now,” that states that wherever you are, give that moment your undivided attention. This is easier said than done. After all, our responsibilities and cares travel with us. We may still be a parent or spouse, or worried about money, health, what to make for dinner or why the boss asked you or not to be involved on that project. It’s very difficult to turn off all those other parts of our life and “Be Here Now,” when we often feel we want, or should, be somewhere else.

Our prayers together cuts through all this, and calms us. It allows us to be centered, to be more than just present to truly be engaged. It reminds us that we are there together not just for each other but for the Lord. He asks us, and we submit, to putting aside all those distractions and to “be there” for Him. What a wonderful way to focus and begin our discussions and work together. Together in purpose. Together in faith.

Is there a prayer for distracted drivers? We want everyone to go to Heaven, but not to rush there…

Yours in Christ, Dave

For more such reflections visit the website of the Society

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