Last night we got together with family in from Virginia at one of the local restaurants. Well, we arrived at a prearranged time and everyone settled in with our catching up hugs and conversations. There are eleven of us and most restaurants are not equipped to seat eleven people so all eleven people can see and hear all eleven people. You are usually at these small tables pushed together in this long row. I could see the people at the other end but I couldn’t hear them. So we are all kind of limited to conversations with those around us (either side and ones across from us). Shirley’s conversation is with her sister so I just try to listen to most of what they are saying.
I have been assigned the seat on the end of one side of this row on the corner. Shirley is sitting beside me. No one is on my right side (the side of my married ear). Her sister is across from me but talks so softly that I (with poor hearing) can hear only a word every now and then. So to be part of what is going on I look around and smile at someone/anyone who just happens to look my way. For some reason I believe that keeps me in the loop – in the moment with the family.
But there is this other distraction to the one sitting down on the end, at the corner. Way across the room (at the bar) are two televisions. The Panthers are on one and the Packers are on the other. They are too far away for me to hear. I can barely see the players. No hope of seeing the score. So I judge who is winning by the reactions of the players. If they are jumping up and down I figure they must be winning. Then Aaron Rogers (whom I think is a great quarterback) falls down, gets hurt and is taken to the locker room on that little golf cart. My first impression is “Oh no not Aaron… what a big blow that would be to his team.”
Well, I am looking (not really watching) toward these games around these little statues on the dividers between us and the televisions way across the room. I am not really in the games because they are so far away, and not really in the moment with family members because I can’t hear what is going on around me. They all have their own conversations going. They are laughing, the kids are involved with the other kids. Everyone is having a good time.
Yesterday I wrote about keeping the Christmas season alive longer through more family time and less football distractions. I am not really sure what I could have done differently last night. I didn’t cheer, jump up and down when someone scored. I just quietly squinted in the direction of the televisions hoping to have some understanding of what was happening. That is kinda what I was doing with the family as well… hoping that I would catch a word every now and then and know a little of what was happening at our table.
Logistics was the problem at the restaurant. Perhaps the only thing that could have changed my predicament was to have moved my chair to where I could see and hear and carry on a conversation with someone. But I am not sure where that would have been. No, I didn’t practice what I preached. I didn’t even get in the pulpit.
Today let me change up things and ask you what you would have done or what you think I should have done. I would love to hear from you.
Dear Lord, sometimes we get ourselves in a predicament simply by where we are seated… unable to make conversation with those about us. Help us to know what to do and how to stay involved in the lives of those we love, in and through Jesus. Amen.
Books By Dr. Martin