When I was pastoring, one of the least listened to parts of the service was the announcements. One of the young girls in the congregation came to talk to me about how disrespectful the adults were being. I asked her if she had any ideas on how to get the adults to pay attention and she said yes. The next Sunday, this powerful 7 year old got up in front of the congregation and loudly proclaimed, “It’s pay attention time!” The adults immediately paid attention and then she explained that announcements were not a time to talk to their neighbors, but a time to pay attention to the announcements. It has been years since she taught this lesson and took over that part of worship, but I still remember her telling everyone, “it’s pay attention time!”
After having been admitted to the hospital twice in the last two months, the last time for 8 days, I have gotten the message as loud and clear as my congregants did from that young girl. This has been my pay attention time. It has caused me to pay attention to a lot of my organs and bodily functions that, like church announcements, I had ignored. For example, I knew your kidneys were important, but never gave much thought to what it might be like to have to live with kidneys that were not functioning properly, despite the fact that I know of numerous people who are on dialysis. I had not paid attention to other organs such as my liver, gall bladder, or pancreas, until my bile duct became blocked and I became jaundice and I am now looking at having my gall bladder removed. Living without my gall bladder means I have to change the way I eat and the choices I make because I will have to become the support to my liver that my gall bladder was. However, until I was put in a position where I had to consciously think about these organs and what they do and how to best take care of them, I failed to pay attention to them. I just took them for granted.
As I was talking about this experience at love and inspiration on skype this past Sunday I asked how familiar can we be with the Divine who created us if we are not familiar with all the organs we were given in that creation process. Do we take our bodily functions for granted? If the Ultimate lives within us, then it lives in every organ and bodily function we perform. I had to ask, how connected are we to God if we are not fully connected to our own body? Do we miss messages from the Divine because we are not paying attention?
So often, we talk about being connected to Spirit and receiving messages from the Divine. However, how often do we forget to listen to our body as a form of communication between the Divine and us. Have we forgotten to give thanks for what is running smoothly and operating “normally” because we now take it for granted, like getting up and going to the bathroom. Do we even pay attention to the color of our excrements? If not, what messages from the Divine are we missing because we are not paying attention to the visible messages which are screaming “it’s pay attention time.”
Starting today, may we each begin to pay attention to our bodies in ways we have not done so before. May we hear, see, and experience the messages about what is working properly and what is not which are being sent to us through our bodies. May we learn to listen to the ancient languages which come from within and have powerful messages to share with us. May we always remember “it’s pay attention time.”