Kate Moriarty 1 May 2024

God forgives us all things, even the fact we can be easily distracted.

I have one of those brains. I find it hard to focus. I’m easily distracted and I’m not always listening to you. I try my best, I really do, but sometimes my brain decides to think about something else even while I’m nodding and looking interested. I don’t do it on purpose – it just happens. And then when I do focus on something, I do it too hard. I have no idea what is going on around me. I am in the zone.

I would like to say that when I go to Mass I am fully immersed in the liturgy. That all of my thoughts are prayerful. That I don’t even have ‘thoughts’, just an overarching sense of oneness with the Lord.

Instead, here are the ‘Thoughts I have at Mass that have nothing to do with the liturgy’.

•          The kids have all gone to Little Sprouts. I hope they behave. Geez it’s peaceful without them. I can really focus. Focus. I can see a fault in the brick pattern on the wall right there. I wonder if it causes structural issues? I wonder if Brenda’s daughter is going to be a civil engineer?

•          That man two pews up is wearing a woollen jumper. I think the pattern is called Fair Isle, but I’m not exactly sure what Fair Isle is. I want to google it, but I can’t. I’m in church.

•          That would be a really good sermon if you stop there, Father. No? That was point one of five? OK then.

•          People are coming in late to church. It’s pretty crowded. They are looking for a seat. It looks like we have space, but we don’t really. The kids will be coming back from Little Sprouts soon. How can I communicate that these seats aren’t free?

•          I know I’ll forget to google the Fair Isle design after Mass because the same man wore that jumper last week and the week before and I wanted to google it, but forgot that it ever existed as soon as Mass was over.

•          I forgot the money for the plate! Again! Did my husband remember? He looks confident, but I’m too far away to ask him. Why does he look confused? Surely rubbing two fingers together is a universal gesture. Do. You. Have. Money. Sir.

•          I don’t have any coats or bags to drape over the seats. I could put a newsletter there, but newsletters are too flimsy to properly claim a spot.

•          He will wear the jumper again next week and it will bother me. He must be one of those people who wears the same thing every Sunday. This is his Sunday jumper. Is he like that for every day of the week? Does he have a Wednesday blazer? A Saturday mankini?

•          What are they heating up for morning tea? That smells good.

•          Maybe if I just spread myself out as much as possible. Oh. It’s OK. They’ve found another seat. And here come the kids!

•          I really want to know if it’s Fair Isle design. What if I were to just really quickly google it now? I could pretend I was switching my phone to silent. No. No. I must be good.

•          I hope the kids behaved themselves. What on earth have they made? Is that supposed to be a sheep?

•          Look at their darling golden heads of hair. Is that – is that headlice?

It’s easy to beat myself up about my distractibility. I remind myself that God created my brain and that all things can be turned to prayer. So, I kneel down after Communion.

‘Lord, help Brenda’s daughter on her chosen career path. Help all knitters everywhere. Help those who need to find their place in a confusing world. Lord, I pray that those are home-made sausage rolls I can smell. And Lord, if you could make all headlice spontaneously expire and just drop off their hosts’ heads, that would be fab. Amen.’

Kate Moriarty is a freelance columnist, author and reviewer. Under Kate Solly, her novel Tuesday Evenings with the Copeton Craft Resistance is available now.


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