Saturday, September 12, 2009


I was trying to explain to him a somewhat technical point. The white board filled up with colorful ink, equations and pictures and symbols. It was crucial information that needed to be transferred so that he could understand how to properly calibrate his detector. This was an important aspect of his thesis project. As I was working my way through the dance, I began to sense that something was different. There was definitely something in the air. A noticeable phase change. The usually astute questions and probing rapidly diminished and then abruptly stopped altogether. Did I move too fast? Did I make too many assumptions or take too grand a step and lose my young charge somewhere along the way? This was certainly not like him. Not like him in the least. I looked up from my work and noticed the back of his head as he ran out of the room. I heard a muffled, excuse me ... perhaps a slight whimper. I stood there in my office all alone. I was totally confused, even a little bit put out. After a moment, I managed to collect myself and sat down at my computer and once again became engrossed in my work. At some time later, my attention was broken by a gentle rapping on my door. I looked up to see my student sheepishly staring down at the floor. After a somewhat awkward pause he admitted that he had to go to the bathroom, badly. Another momentary silence followed. Then, could you please start from the beginning?

There is an important life lesson here. We can appear to the world to be fully engaged and part of life, but if we are distracted on the inside, all of this beauty and majesty can go right past us and be lost. Take the time to clear the cobwebs and distractions from your mind so that you don't miss a thing.