Pay Attention

📅 March 3, 2021

Time change. Any way you look at it, it’s a bother, upsetting everyone’s rhythm, and taking days to get used to. And then there’s the re-setting all your clocks.

Last time change: I tried and tried to reset the clock in my car. It would not work. I got out the owner’s manual. Had I forgotten a step? Nope. I was doing everything right. It simply would not move. Google. Might need a repair. Not worth the money.

“It will be right again when we go back to daylight savings time,” I told my obsessive self.

Weeks later, I would have trouble starting my car. I would have to step on the accelerator twice. Since I’m constantly gauging my “maturing” joints, I thought, “I’m not pressing on the gas hard enough. My reflexes have changed.”

Later: I attended a friend’s funeral. After the service, I came out to my car, turned the key. Nothing. Not a click. A good friend was within view, getting in his car, so I called. He came over with jumper cables, opened the hood. The battery terminals were completely corroded. He cleaned them off (bless him), jumped the car, and I drove straight to Advanced Auto Parts for a new battery.

After the battery was installed, and I had to reset the clock, and the clock then worked perfectly, it dawned on me:

“The battery was going bad. That’s why I couldn’t set the clock.”

That same month: I had the slightest “twinge” in an upper left molar—second one from the back (No. 14, I later learned). Not pain or discomfort. The sensation would come and go. It didn’t hurt to chew. The tooth wasn’t sensitive to heat or cold.

Off to the dentist I went. An X-ray was taken. Nothing definitive. He sent me to an endodontist, who did one of those 360 degree space-age X-rays.

It turned out: the tooth with the pang, No. 14, had a root that had “resorbed.”

Not only that, but the tooth behind it, No. 15, needed a root canal.

And that tooth (the one that hadn’t hurt at all) needed to be taken care of first.

Thus began a process of visiting not one, not two, but three dentists, to get all these problems fixed.  

(If you’re curious, they did the root canal first, let that heal, then did the extraction, then let that heal and then put two new crowns on either side of the missing tooth, making a bridge.)

However: because I was sensitive to the way my teeth felt, I caught all these problems before I had a raging toothache.

I share these two stories because of their common theme.

Pay attention. Stay alert to situations, changes, clues, warnings around you.

The word is consider: from a Latin root meaning “to examine,” to think carefully and deliberately.

How often have you admonished someone…or yourself… to “slow down and think about what you’re doing”?

These days, more than ever, it seems, we take precious little time to think.

Information (correct or otherwise) is available immediately, repeatedly, and abundantly. An incident occurs, a report is made, an analysis is offered, and judgments—right or wrong—are formed.

Our society is notorious for impulse buys, immediate gratification, and repenting in leisure.

Even worse, relationships are often entered into, or governed by a rush to judgment and based entirely on faulty premises.

And we are forever in a hurry to fly through the day, cross items off an agenda, and fall into bed to sleep fitfully and leap up to go through the process again without ever taking time to think…consider…if we need to make changes, make amends, reverse course.

The word “consider” is used 97 times in the Bible. Often, the word is a prayer, asking God to consider a certain problem or request. The Psalmist (Psalm 8) considered the heavens, the work of God’s fingers. We are admonished to consider the past and to learn from it. Jesus advised His hearers to “consider the lilies of the field” (Matthew 6:28).

The prophet Haggai stated bluntly: “Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5,7)

2021 is not so far advanced that we cannot pause today to consider how we are doing up till now. Are we ignoring warning signs that attention needs to be given, changes need to made, help needs to be asked for?

And not just our cars or our dental health.

Have we taken time to consider our relationships? Are we paying attention…really paying attention…to the needs of our family and friends and co-workers and neighbors and strangers?

Consider your ways.    


  1. LaRue

    Thank you, Holly. Needed this reminder.

  2. Rebecca

    What a great reminder. Thank you

  3. Judy Andrews

    Thank you for this nudge!


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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association