2 Family Lessons From the Bluetooth Wanderer

The other day I was in a grocery store and someone started talking to me. I turned and responded, but he ignored me. In fact, he didn’t even notice me. That’s when I recognized the far off look in his eyes and the Bluetooth attached to his ear–familiar and identifying marks of the Bluetooth wanderer. The Bluetooth Wanderer was not talking to me at all. No, he was talking to an invisible someone, unheard by me, but obviously speaking plainly to him. I didn’t know who he was talking to; but I knew that I was not the person who had his ear. I was not the person on his mind. Whoever talked at the other end of the phone had his ear. He completed his shopping in a somewhat mindless manner as he focused on the person he spoke to on the phone. The tell-tale sign of his far off stare, as though he was looking across the Ethernet to see the person on the other end, signaled that he was more intent on his conversation than his present surroundings, listening more intently to the person who had his ear than to the everyday sounds that surrounded him. As I continued my own shopping, I realized that I might be able to learn a few things from this Bluetooth Wanderer. Maybe he can teach us a few things about family. For instance,
1.      This Bluetooth Wanderer gave “mind space” to the person on the other end of the line. He kept that person in mind. Even when they were not physically present, that other person had his ear and filled his mind with their spoken thoughts, desires, and experiences. We honor our family members when we keep them in mind as well. Giving “mental space” to family members’ desires and experiences, even when they are not physically present, allows us to think about them throughout the day. We can remember them with affection and look forward to rejoining them at the end of the day. We can recall positive aspects of their personality and our relationship with them throughout the day. Our family members suddenly hold weight and influence in our everyday decisions and actions when we allow them to take up residence and become permanent tenants in our mind.
2.      That Bluetooth Wanderer filtered his experience in the store through the conversation he held with whoever talked at the other end of his phone. The person he spoke with took priority over his daily experience and shaped how he viewed his daily activities. Our mindful awareness of family will filter our world as we keep them in mind as well. Our priorities and daily actions will reflect their presence in our mind. By allowing their personality, interests, and desires to occupy a portion of our mind throughout the day, we may even find a simple gift or action to offer them to express our love. Our devotion will grow as we practice this mindful awareness of family. Temptations to drift from family will decrease as we give our mind and attention to our family. When we let our family hold sway over our mind and attention, even when not physically present, we are less likely to be tempted by other, less important, things.
The Bluetooth Wanderer always surprises me. I mistakenly think he is speaking to me only to discover he is more interested in someone else, a person who holds sway over his mind and attention through the Bluetooth. I don’t know about you, but I want my family to hold sway over my mind and attention. So, perhaps we can learn this lesson from the Bluetooth Wanderer.

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