I watched as he walked. He was present, but not really. His walk was slow, not quite straight, but clearly not drunk. His eyes were looking straight ahead yet it was clear that he was looking at something we could not see. I was about to say something, only to realize that he was locked in thought. I was not sure if I should interrupt. Was he a danger to anyone? I did not think so, although I could see that running into something would happen in time.
Even as I walked away, I realized I had been looking at a composite of my life. I like to be I am in control. Even as I stake this claim, I realize a future event’s headlight has locked my attention. I am making motions in the present while living somewhere else. My mind is focused, yet it is rarely on the matter at hand.
His walk was interrupted by the tug on his hand. Everything snapped into place. Eyes focused on the immediate. Posture went from limp to erect. You could feel the change.
Everything changed in that moment.
Getting lost in thought is a common occurrence. In an old story, Paul described the unfolding events. “It happened just as Ananias said. After I was back in Jerusalem and praying one day in the Temple, lost in the presence of God, I saw him, saw God’s Righteous Innocent, and heard him say to me, ‘Hurry up!’” (Acts 22.17)
He had a hand tug. He needed it! The stranger in the store felt a gentle tug. He got what he needed.
There are seasons for thought and reflection. I know that they are critical to our survival. Yet, there are times when one needs a gentle tug to bring everything into focus. What happens next is always unique. My goal today is to listen for the gentle tug and follow its lead. It may be a call to reflection or a gentle reminder to be in the moment. Listening and responding will be key.