I read. A couple psalms, including 70. I say to myself, “reach over an get your pen and journal.” I also say to myself, “look at the weather app.”
And 10 minutes later (okay, 12), I have my journal. (Okay, 15 minutes).
Whatever observations I had about Psalm 70, whatever prayer I wanted to write out for those on the other side of the world evacuating families from villages before the attacks from herdsman arrive is gone. The psalmist talked about those “who want to take [their] lives”, those “who desire [their] ruin.” The words and the lament are true, literally, at this moment. And the conversation with God that I was about to have dissipated.
Sisters and brothers protecting their lives, aware that their livelihood was likely to be burned. Me with the opportunity to talk with God about whether there is anything I can do beyond our conversation, whether there are ways I can help or encourage or support.
On Sunday, I read out words from John:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Those words are available to guide my conversation with God.
But in a momentary conversation with myself, I picked up one object rather than the other.
I did learn the weather forecast (I’ll be able to run). And with fifteen minutes of flicking my finger I saw many things, but remembered nothing.
I’m not saying, I don’t think, that because I was browsing my phone and not praying, that the herdsmen arrived. I am saying that in that moment, my capacity to distract myself meant that I was distracted from a conversation.
I’m grateful, however, that I could go back to the conversation and the reflection and the intercession.
As we always can.