Children sit in the living room, texting friends while chowing down burgers from a fast-food restaurant, geometry and science books laying open at their feet. Game systems and electronics fill shelves beneath a blaring tv set. Knick-knacks gather dust. Chairs and sofas line walls filled with many pictures, relatives that no one knows.
In the kitchen, cabinets are piled with unopened mail. Gadgets, most never used, fill every drawer. The mom searches frantically for an ice cream maker she was sure they once owned. “Where is it? That was supposed to be our dessert tonight,” she yells out. But no one hears.
The father is in the garage, digging through boxes of items long forgotten. He has a reunion to go to and wants the jersey he once wore in high school. He doesn’t know if it will fit, or even if he still owns it. But he’s determined to find out.
A lone child plays upstairs, pushing little metal cars across the carpeted hallway. “Zoom. Zoom.” He rushes past one room and then another, stopping briefly in front of the guest room, where shiny ribbons strewn across an unmade bed catch his eye. Gift wrap and boxes, remnants of the holiday season, are thrown on the floor. Sheets and blankets lay haphazard on an old armchair. The little boy squints his eyes, imagining a room filled with children, a house where everyone plays. He looks longingly down the empty hall, then back at the bedroom, wondering why they have a guest room, but never a guest.
This picture is the norm, the scene of a full house. The site of an empty home. Families, even when together, are still apart. Communication is but words across a screen. Noise resonates through silent air. Parents search for things that don’t matter.
When did life pull families apart? When did we forget what’s really important?
I think it began when we crammed drawers with unneeded trinkets, and closets with too many clothes. I think it’s when we piled boxes in once-empty garages, and homes with needless gadgets. I think it’s when we embraced stuff, and let go of life.
We need to get rid of distractions. Whether a cell phone, a kitchen cabinet overflowing with unopened mail, or old boxes in the middle of a garage, we need to let it go.
Distractions are everywhere. Don’t let them be in your home. Turn off your cell phone, if only for a day. Clear a drawer. Toss a box. Stop searching in drawers and closets, looking for things that don’t matter. Everything you need is right in front of you.
What is your distraction? What will you let go of today?