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February 22, 2022

Dear friends,

Over the past few weeks, my family has enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics. My favorite sport to watch is curling. I’m not kidding about that. I watched it last winter Olympics too as the US team won gold for the first time, and so I’ve kept up with the team throughout this year’s tournament as well. One thing I’ve noticed about curling is that it is BUSY. Every team in the tournament plays one another in a full round robin style event. Then, the top four teams advance to the semi-finals. The games are very long, so much so that the commentators talk about how during the tournament all the competitors really have time to do outside of their sport is eat and sleep.

What I like about curling is how focused the players have to be. Other athletes, of course, have to remain focused as well, but compared to curling it is only for a short while. Staying that focused for that long would be mentally exhausting for me and is one reason I admire these athletes so much.

Focus and distraction are very much a part of all of our daily lives. When I was writing my final doctoral project one of our professors told me about a computer program called, “Freedom,” that basically turned off your internet while you needed to focus. We all have settings on our phone that limit the number of notifications during certain times. It’s very ironic to me that the machines that were created that eventually caused our distractedness, have had to make improvements to cut off their own features so we can think again.

In the new year, we make resolutions, things that we are going to do in the new year. What if, instead, we think about where we are focused, and where we are distracted? Are we focused on our family, or are we distracted by guilt or anger? Are we focused on our health, or are we distracted by unhealthy pursuits? This is one something Jesus constantly talks about. He asks people where they are focused. Are they more focused on God or are they distracted by ritual? Are they focused on following him or are they distracted by arguing about who is the greatest? Are they focused on caring for the poor, or are they distracted by bickering overpower?

We are pushed and pulled by focus and distraction every day. I pray that we may all remain focused on the Good News of Jesus Christ, and not be distracted by our ego.



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