Sunday, April 16, 2017
I remember that on my report card I got a grade for "Attendance." This graded how many times I was present or absent from school since the last report card. Everyone walked to the neighborhood school. Bad children would leave the apartment as if to go to school, but then would play hooky. The report card would reveal this to the parents, when "Attendance" got a C or a D grade. So children then would attend school to avoid consequences of punishment. But is attendance enough? We were called "Good" children because we showed up regularly. What if we day-dreamed while the teacher talked, or doddled in our notebook when we were supposed to be taking notes or completing an in school assignment? This behavior might get us into the habit of attending life but not participating. This is an issue for me on a daily basis. I want to participate in life and not just show up. Showing up is important, or else I cannot participate. But showing up is not enough. I can be physically present, but not listen, or care. I can attend an event, even a spiritual event, but let my mind doddle. Only my body is in the room. This would make a marriage partnership messy. It would make my priesthood messy, as people come to me to participate by listening and caring about their issues. I can attend meetings, but say nothing, not because I am listening intently, but because I have mentally, or emotionally left the room. Attendance alone is still tethered to mediocrity.