Life is the Interruptions

You know what drives me crazy? Interruptions. I can’t stand ’em.
I’ve got a list of regular interruptions plaguing me, and they are each equally disturbing. When I’m in the middle of right-brain brilliance, the last thing I need is to realize that my bladder needs attention, my stomach is grumpy or my child is whining. Attending to bodily functions or stopping to care for others in need is always so difficult to justify when I am about to have a breakthrough with the perfect typeface or when I just thought of a genius small business idea – I just have to buy the domain name. I can barely stand the commas in my stream-of-thought sentences when I just discovered a new hobby or an oppressed people to fight for. Who do these people think they are? I’m trying to solve world hunger over here, and you want a glass of water?

Image credit: uselesstriviaandmindlessrants.blogspot.com 
Today it happened, and with perfect predictability. It was 12:30, my lunch time. I was about to skip the lunch break for one of my favorite projects, the department newsletter. Hunched over the keyboard with my imagination projecting images onto the screen, Feist radio in the background, I would lose myself in graphic design and witty wordage. It was about to go down. Until it wasn’t.    
A knock on the door. A request for me to take an angry patient. She just stormed out of another staff member’s office, accusing him of wanting her dead. Now she will be yours, I learned. The visions of my peaceful, creative aloneness began to dissolve. A bit of grumbling followed; it was mine.
Darn you, interruptions. And the day was going so well.
If I could only go to the clinic and not be bothered. If only I could put on the headphones and fade into the design program. If only no one had any mental health crises that needed solutions now. If only there were no people who would rather be dead, no mothers who can’t decide the future of their unborn children. If only my son could learn to microwave his own quesadillas, and my husband could debrief himself after his sermons. If only my roommates never had a mid-life crisis or a question about the groceries. Then I would be happy. Then I could read biographies. I could write. Pray. Uninterrupted, I could be so productive. 
If I had long hair and no family and no job, this would be me.  
But then, I remember: the interruptions are the job. The interruptions are the life. The project I’m working on is my job, and so any cantankerous, drama queen who really feels lonely and wants her husband back from war. Compassion is not for planned events only. Justice is not reserved for a crisis that made my schedule. 
And what’s more, the interruptions reveal my character. Who I am in the interruption is who I really am. Today, I found out that deep down, I am whiny and grumpy. I am not benevolent and philanthropic as I like to imagine. I am not a bending-over-backwards Servant of All. Sometimes I am just edgy, hostile, prickly, stinky – like a porcupine who needs a bath. But how I respond to the interruption is how I respond to my life. Because the groceries and the bathroom trips and the upset babies and the desperate patients and the person driving slow in traffic and the disorganized lady taking forever in the WalMart check out – they are my life. 
The meditation: the interruptions do not prevent me from my life. They ARE my life. 
Illness is my life. Health is my life. Diapers and playtime and giggling children are my life. Indeed, church meetings that go long and conversations that turn tearful are the life we live in this little ranch house in the valley. They are where Jesus does His best work, on His way to somewhere else. He expected the interruptions, looked out for them, because He didn’t call them that. He called them Life, People, Beloved Ones, Essential Moments that would never be lived just this way again. 
Teach me to pay attention to what you’re doing, Spirit. Teach me to see the beauty and safe danger in what I don’t expect. I would like to reach out and hug the surprises instead of snarling at them. I say I love adventure. Okay, give it to me. Just help me see that my life here, no matter the punctuation, is exactly what I’ve asked for.

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One thought on “Life is the Interruptions

  1. Love this. I need reminding that my grumpy way of going through my "boring" day as a stay at home mom is really a big big blessing.

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