Yesterday, I was sitting in my living room working on my Mac when I heard our very old but surprisingly spry outdoor cat, Figaro meowing like crazy outside our front door. This is very unusual for her, unless it is nighttime and she wants to be let in the garage to sleep in her cozy bed for the night. MEOW...MEOW...MEOW. She was meowing so much, I just couldn't concentrate on what I was doing, so I went to see what was up. As I approached our glassfront door, I saw Fig with the chipmunk that has been happily inhabiting our front lawn for years dangling from her mouth. I saw its helpless but still alive face staring into nowhere waiting for its near certain final demise.
When Fig saw me peering at her through the glass, she got excited about showing me her conquest and opened her mouth a little wider than before. As she did, the injured but still alive chipmunk fell from her mouth, landed on the ground and dashed off the side of the porch. Fig, lost in her enthusiasm of showing me her catch failed to notice for a split second that the chipmunk had escaped. As she suddenly realized that her mouth was empty, she caught a glimpse of the rodent flying by and dashed off after it. For the moment at least, it got away...undoubtedly injured, but still alive AND able to run.
Watching this scene play out reminded me of how easy it is for us to get distracted just like Fig did and maybe even the chipmunk did just before it became prey to Fig.
Sometimes we get distracted for only a second, other times for much longer.
Sometimes it matters and something tragic occurs. I'm reminded of a teen where I used to live a few years ago who died when she went to change the music in her car and drove it up a tree. How tragic is that? Alive and well for 17 years and in a sheer moment, it's all over. Distraction...fatal distraction.
Other times the costs are smaller. We miss our exit on the highway or forget to do something we meant to do...stop at the store, call a friend back...minor inconveniences or fumbles.
Still other times there are no seeming costs at all...or are there? Sometimes we do not even know what we're missing out on because we are too busy doing something else more trivial...watching tv, surfing the net...all the while maybe missing out on something more meaningful if only we weren't so distracted.
It's a question to ask ourselves. How am I distracted?
How can I minimize my distractions when the stakes are high (when driving, with my health, with my finances, with my character, with my relationships, with my future)?
What am I missing out on because of distractions?
Lessons from the cat.