Last evening, after dinner I retired to some reading while my bride cleaned up from our meal. As I was in the midst of reading an essay by my favorite author, I was distracted by a whimper coming from my daughter, who had been playing on the floor. She, being not quite a toddler, but no longer an infant, has entered a stage of life that is frustrating for her. She has an inquisitiveness that requires locomotion to be fully realized, yet a body that hasn’t quite developed the necessary skills to enjoy full mobilization. She has a way of moving, that combines a half crawl, rolling, sliding, and a few other moves that do not lend themselves to easy description. With this bevy of skills she propels herself haphazardly through her world, albeit at a much more frustrating pace than she desires. Thus, when tired, she becomes much less apt to move, and will content herself through stationary play.
Typically, she being a good tempered child, playing alone quietly on the floor seems enjoyable to her. She coos and laughs with her rattles, plastic keys, and a herd of stuffed animals. However, as my reading interruption indicated, something seemed to be the matter. As I watched her sit in the floor and whimper, tears beginning to fill the brims of her blue eyes, I realized she was watching the door as she cried. The door through which her mother had disappeared just a few moments prior to her distress. Yet, just as I was preparing to intervene and comfort her, she the tears stopped forming, the whimper disappeared, and a bright sunshiny smile appeared. Her eyes had caught her Blue Owl. Just a moment before she had mourned the absence of her mother, but now the distraction of the Blue Owl had taken her fears away, and all was well again. I returned to reading.
That was to be short lived. For, in just a moment, she was watching the door, and now a full tear was rolling down her cheek. Her entire concern was the needed return of her mother. Yet, just as before, something caught her eye, and the smile returned. This time it was her chewable book that had restored joy to her. This cycle continued for a full five minutes. Play, look for Mommy’s return, cry, get distracted, play, notice Mommy is gone, cry, get distracted, rinse and repeat. Five minutes she went through this cycle, and perhaps I am a bad father for not intervening sooner, but something was stirring me as I watched her.
“Why do you stand here looking into the sky?”
Good Question. Well, for this rag tag band of believers, it was because their hope, their Savior, their everything had just Ascended. What a sad day. Of course, as we know, they followed His commands, were filled with the Holy Ghost, and set forth to build the church, all while keeping a focus on the fact that He would be returning. It was this focus that propelled the Church forward in rapid growth and explosive evangelism.
Of course somewhere along the line, Christians, like my baby girl, get distracted by the Blue Owls and Chewy Books of life. One moment our world is wrapped up in the idea that He is returning. We worship, pray, and live life in the light that He will returning for us, and that we need to be ready when He does. We mourn the fact that he isn’t already here, and while we work for him, we pray “Come Quickly Lord”.
Then, something catches our eye. The Blue Owl of carnal cares and pleasures of this life. No longer are we looking for his return. Rather, we throw ourselves into work and play, trying to achieve satisfaction in the moment, all while the world around us perishes. Perhaps our mind is clear as we work for the Lord, and then a chewy book of false doctrine or modern sensationalism takes us from the task God has assigned to us. Instead of doing what we were called to do, we try to emulate the feigned success of someone else, and that never seems to work. We find ourselves confused and bewildered, all while valuable time is lost. Then some tragedy occurs, some song stirs our emotions, or a sermon invokes our convictions, and we suddenly remember what really matters once again. However, the real issue is the amount of progress being stifled, and damage done, during our times of distraction.
We are Here. He is Returning. Nothing else matters. Don’t be distracted by Blue Owls and Chewy Books.