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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Distraction Caused By Others

Updated on December 9, 2015

The splendor and beauty of the Red Rocks in Sedona

When I was a child I just took the sight of these magnificent geological marvels for granted. Not anymore.
When I was a child I just took the sight of these magnificent geological marvels for granted. Not anymore. | Source

Effecting Others

First a word of apologetics here. We call these things that are written here sermons. We do that in order to claim some license in the area of preaching. If the label did not fully warn the reader of this, for instance if the title did not include “sermon” we would possibly entice people to read unfairly. So we apologize if there is misleading in the term “sermon” as we distinctly do not tell the community what to think. If that is what you are looking for in a sermon, be forewarned that it is not here. These are merely suggestions of what to think about, hopefully not even how to think about them.

Now onto the crux of the matter in humiliating form. My son is 5 and ¾’s. We finished our 100th game of chess last night. He has the moves down and he is beginning to think several moves ahead. But the kid just can’t sit still and fully concentrate. Oh my! The gyrations, the noises, the up and downs and the dancing on a good move. So I am pummeling him with direction to sit still and concentrate.

Well all my hard work came to fruition last night. The boy beat me fair and square. I have no defense to the humility but I was the one who got a great big learning episode out of it. I was so absorbed in teaching him not to be distracted I was myself greatly distracted. What a fool’s errand I embark on when I try to teach a youngster the “right” way to do something. Next I will be telling you and my wife how to do something right. Of course the right way is always my way. Oh the glory of those lessons we should already know yet are taught to us by the student.

And now the little boo boo head beat me in chess.

I just love the wistful phrase "oh, they grow up so fast" No they do not! It is brutal and painful if you are really a part of their world and not them a part of yours.
I just love the wistful phrase "oh, they grow up so fast" No they do not! It is brutal and painful if you are really a part of their world and not them a part of yours. | Source

Now just relax and call me in the morning.

Perhaps I should end it right here.

But such is not my lot in life. My job is to give us some more insight into this one area of our life that we can control and be the master of. If I accept you for who and what you are then I can love you. If I can accept me for what and who I am I can love me. Whoa smarty pants out there. This does not mean we do not learn and grow. I tell you not to accept your flaws – correct them. I tell you never to stop trying – improve. But that little boy taught us that that learning should not interfere with our being ourselves.

Can we say it this way: I am satisfied with who I am. My improvement is not based on my faults. My improvement is based upon where I want to go. I see a character defect and I love it but want to say good bye to it.

Can life be that easy in the realm of finding peace within ourselves? Yes it can. Unless we have some technical inhibitors that block us from that path. Yo! Over here, I am guilty as charged. I got issues as examples for us here. My ego sucks sometimes. It puffs me up and puts me in the cockpit of my machine that I have no business trying to drive. This self will is just too much machine for a simple country boy to handle. But my ego tells me I can handle it so I do not reach out for help. In my world that help to reach my good self is just a prayer away, and it don’t even have to be out loud. So I do not know about you but I have that hurdle to overcome.

Next is this wild and crazy notion I have in my head to argue with everything. Heck I even argue with myself in the quiet of the night before sleep. Whoa! I spend more time in my head as the kick butt attorney in court and usually the problem is that I am both the prosecution and the defendant. I even point a finger at myself as the one who did it. And then take the stand and deny it. Hopefully you get the gist out of that. Again I have to go outside of my self in order to relax and get inside of my self. This one I find is best served by serving others, it kind of breaks down that accusatory finger pointing.

I just like this photo

For some reason this photo takes me to a place where religion takes a back seat to a personal relationship. Strange isn't it?
For some reason this photo takes me to a place where religion takes a back seat to a personal relationship. Strange isn't it? | Source

Me wanna go home.

The point is not avoiding others but rather living with them.

So we are well served to serve others rather than view it as correcting others. How could I teach my son concentration while I myself was distracted? OK I admit, beating daddy is awesome for his confidence and that great concept of self-esteem. But I also just taught him that daddy is a hypocrite, who preaches against distractions as a guiding force, and yet became so distracted that he failed in his purpose. So when all was said and done. He and I learned that we are not perfect. That we actually make mistakes. That we do the opposite of what we know we should do. That is just the way we are. But back to that learning and growth concept. If daddy learns not to be like that and try harder to act the right way then the humiliating experience was in fact good for daddy. We do not lose in life, we only discover ways in which we will not win. And let us not discount for one second that sometimes we get beat by something or someone who is simply better at that moment. I look forward to many more quiet evenings getting thrashed by my son as he gets better and better than I. Such is the real juice of life.

So where are we here?

We try. Please just let that simmer for a moment. We try. How wonderful that is. We try. Is that good enough. As for me, it is not. I must do. But in my old age dotage I am coming to realize that trying in and of itself is marvelous. Accomplishing is sometimes to “accomplish the trying”.

So back to our topic subject for today. Distraction of others. Now we can take a quick look at the distraction of others. My boy distracted me because I was concerned over his conduct. Oops! If we are so wrapped up in how others are acting we lose control of how we are acting. We can lose the focus. If I walk down the street and see the homeless man as a stinking, filthy dirty bum, then I might be dissuaded from my purpose in giving him the water and five dollar bill meant for him. If I focus on the task at hand and take the man as I find him, I will succeed in my purpose. We must notice and care for those around us and even make adjustments to accommodate. But do we need to be distracted by their behavior?

Blessings to you on this fine day.

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 16 months ago from United States

      I surely agree and like your positive message here my friend. This life may well be rewarded by our goodness and supportive attitudes. We can exceed our own greatest expectations. Thank you for sharing the great message. whonu

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 16 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I could relate to this sooo much. Sometimes I've been guilty of wanting someone to do as I say so badly I lose focus of their desire, maybe it is not mine at all and maybe it is the best choice, and like you were thrilled that your son won, the distractions caused you to lose. I am trying to roll with the flow and realize that we live and learn. I am going to town this after noon, and I hope I see a homeless man in need instead of people fighting about getting the new gadget on sale. Of course I loved the video. Day O. Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I just went to one of my customers this morning....Walmart...I could have used this sermon before entering that store. :) Seriously, acceptance is the key for me. I need to understand that not everyone is going to fit into my preconceived vision of how they should act. Damn it's hard.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 16 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I think that we are all guilty of being our own worst critic at moments when what we really need is a hug and a word of encouragement! Children are the best ones to teach us this concept. They love us unconditionally, no matter what we do to them. Thank God for that! Without their sweet innocence, we certainly would not be inspired to become better people! Cheers!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 16 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Old age dotage? Hardly.

      I enjoyed this sermon--children are such great teachers, aren't they? (And I'll most people think it's supposed to be the other way around). They have no agenda, no motive, no preconceived notions. They are so genuine and honest.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 16 months ago from Nibiru

      preach it brother

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, you suffer from my disease "oh boy let's look for the good stuff" disease. We are warmed by others when we are in the right state of mind.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, What joy you bring to the table which is our feast of life. That learning to live, living to learn and learning to learn from all facets that intersect with our lives is precious. I will go to the thrift store in a few to look for old books and ancient knickknacks we will see homeless and I have a gallon of water and a couple of bills ready. Did you know that living on the street, there is often no way to get good drinking water on a regular basis? Leads to problematic health issues.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I don't feel so well, the mere mention of going inside a Walmart kind of turns my gut. I anticipate the ugliness so much that I am a waste case within those walls.

      Bad on me. Maybe it is the lights that make everyone look like Hep C liver failure jaundice. Deep breath. There are good people in Walmart.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise, that unconditionality is a prize. As we move along with a youngster, we can try to capture that sense for them and for us. I like the word unabashed. There is no apology needed or that should be given for pure love of another and acceptance of their character.

      Thanks for coming by it is always great to hear from you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Carb Diva, my son likes to play soccer. He does not want to be on a team, he just likes soccer. So we play a whole lot. (not so hot on my knees so he lets me whine) His new phrase is "bring it on". That is the stage he is in. It is so cool. He is fearless in honesty. I learn much.

      It is kind of you to be so supportive -- it is much appreciated here.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clive you lift me up, thanks a bunch.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 16 months ago

      Okay Eric , You KNOW I love your sermons more than anything on Hubpages .....................................But please .......pplllleeeaaaassseeee , Not the banana boat song !

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, mea culpa. Sometimes I just get up and get goofy. That sliver moon and planet hanging out next to it just tips me off before sunrise.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 16 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Nice message. Most of us (including me) get much worried about other's behaviour and like to teach and correct them. But we do not try to understand from their position. The result is we ourselves become tense and out of control. Your sermon is a great message to realise this mistake and reconcile with them instead of finding fault in them.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 16 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Eric, the game of chess with your son brought back memories. When I first taught my eldest son to play chess he was about six. We played quite often until he was starting to get the hang of all the pieces and their moves. One day I decided to take it a little easy and let him win to build his confidence. Well that backfired and I learnt a lesson in the process. It boosted his confidence to the point he became boastful and even arrogant. He excitedly announced..."I beat daddy"..which was fine, but then it became "I always beat dad at chess" etc etc...after that I had to bring him back to earth and start defeating him again. I felt bad, but it was necessary. He had to concentrate and try hard if he wanted to improve and win on his merits. Now we play whenever we get together..maybe once or twice a year (live in different places) and whoever can keep their concentration longest wins...probably him two games out of ever three. Now he can boast "I beat dad at chess most of the time."

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari I am starting to understand the real beauty in diversification. We think of that only in cultural ways. In fact we must apply it in personal ways. Even in the faults of another we should be able to find the beauty that is them. Sometimes I find myself happy that my wife has weaknesses, not so I can correct them but so we can compliment each other.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 16 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Interesting post Eric. Our children are our best teachers, and when they young then parents know everything but when they become teenagers parents know nothing and when they become adults they see their parents within themselves. Instilling self-confidence in our children is the best task we as parents can undertake for our chldren, but probably not by letting them win a game! Like Jodah did. More and more its my aim to become the observer in my reality, and If I see a homeless man try to see a spirit of light knowing that the soul might want an experience what it's like to be homeless. Who knows.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John, I love the give and take of which you speak. I soccer my son was getting ugly about "I win you, I win you" with a little dance. Tired of this I said "if you are so smart you would know it is "I beat you". He looked hurt and said I would never beat him that is not nice. Somehow we got to gloating and arrogance through that scene. To build confidence yet not arrogance is a tough line. I think trying to do it right is good enough.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Nadine it is great to have you come by and comment. Children are an endless source of challenges and learning. We do alright because we care. It is my belief that we are all tied together in a universal thing we share - love. Truly the homeless man is entwined with me. In one sense we are one. When we sever that connection we are less whole. In that sense if you connect you are actually experiencing him and his reality is homelessness. Which brings us back to the child. If we truly connect with their world and not just force ours upon them then we can learn together and love together and what we know will be a part of them whether we try to teach them or not. A spiritual osmosis if you will indulge. It is good to think in such ways even though it is different than our day to day views.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 16 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I remember when a good friend of mine taught me to play checkers. We would have a good time with him beating the pants off me every time and showing me no mercy. Well, one day I won and I danced and rejoiced. I remember his words..." I taught you too well" He was so used to beating me he stopped concentrating; where I, on the other hand, was totally concentrated on beating him.

      I didn't win too many times after that, for now, he was concentrating every time we played. It's true we can sometimes become distracted by teaching others. Sometimes we are even hypocritical, teaching lessons we haven't truly learned ourselves. Good topic.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, That is a great story. Complacency to our own business when we get too wrapped up in other's business seems to be more common than I thought. We are lucky to find a teacher who is no too hypocritical.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 16 months ago from The Caribbean

      Serving others may distract us from ourselves as our priority, without distracting us from our purpose; because serving others is part of our purpose. I like your statement that "We must notice and care for those around us and even make adjustments to accommodate."

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, finding that middle constant ground of being good to others while maintaining a personal integrity is wonderful. I struggle with it often.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 16 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      I so enjoyed this Hub Eric! "I was so absorbed in teaching him not to be distracted I was myself greatly distracted." Wow. The crux of it all. I find this to be true myself as a mother, teacher, and person in life. I lose focus on myself and I think purposefully sometimes so I don't have to look within all the time. The distraction of others is, well, a distraction of the self. Thank you for helping me see this in myself. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Carly,

      It is nice of you to come by and leave a note. This sure is something that I know that I must keep an eye on. I think you are right we use it as an escape sometimes. A lot easier to fix you than me ;-)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton

      Eric I'm catching up with my reads because I've been so busy... and I'm glad I caught your sermons .. no matter if it's in the title or not, I love the messages.. bless you my friend and happy holidays

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank, thank you. I like to catch up from time to time. Which reminds me, I have the intention of reading yours from the first one through to the current. What a great series you have going.

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