Do Not Leave Unattended

Yankee Candle Label

It’s not the first time I’ve read them, and it’s not the only place I’ve seen them. They can be found at swimming pools and public beaches (add children), library signs (add personal items), and parks (add pet). But today I’m giving them more than a passing consideration. Words found in so many places deserve a second glance.

I’m reliably responsible. I don’t leave home before blowing out the candles, I understand the beauty and danger of water, I keep my belongings with me, and I don’t let dogs run loose in public spaces. But these words carry more than a warning- they carry wisdom:

Attend. Pay attention. A flame started and deserted can go from warmth to conflagration. A child neglected breaks, inside and out. Seeking knowledge while ignoring the rest of life leads to loss, not wisdom. Cleaning up messes comes with every living thing.

These words apply to me, too. If I leave my life unattended, my days and years go up in smoke, my spirit drowns in worry, I get lost in the stacks, and the mess I make will be a burden to others. Lucky for me, these words can be found almost anywhere.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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