My wife hates being interrupted. I mean she loathes it. To her, being interrupted during a conversation is the epitome of rude behavior.
Yet, when life deals an interruption, she handles it much better than I do. I’m a creature of routine. I like predictability. I’m the guy who orders the same thing off of the menu every time because I know what I like and I know what to expect. In short, I’m boring. But when my routine gets interrupted, I get flustered. It takes me several minutes to get my bearings, and yes, I lose my temper from time to time. Meanwhile, my wife is rolling with the punches, improvising and coming up with alternative solutions.
Lately God has been allowing several interruptions in my life. Flooded basements, broken dryers, car repairs, another child needing glasses, and Snowmageddon 2016 (we are on day six of kids being home from school) have all given me more than a few interruptions in my routine. Instead of lashing out in anger, I have been trying to learn from these interruptions (although there have been some exceptions where patience wore thin), and I believe that God is trying to teach me a few lessons that are sorely needed in this life.
- Things are things, stop relying on them. Things break, and when they do, I shouldn’t be surprised. Sometimes they can be repaired easily enough (like putting new tires on a car), sometimes they can be replaced (like a new dryer), and sometimes you realize you never needed them in the first place (like some of the stuff ruined in a flood). These “things”, while convenient, can’t bring me security, hope, or happiness, and it’s idolatry to expect them to do so. Oh the perils of first world problems!
- Children are a blessing, enjoy them. I confess; I can be one of those parents who can’t wait for the kids to go back to school so we can get back to “life as usual”. This is especially true when cabin fever has set in and a turf war breaks out over who gets to sit on the corner cushion on the couch. But, as I have spent these last few days with my children, and tried to work at home while they are in the house, I have tried to savor it more. Maybe it’s because my oldest is a senior and her going off to college is looming in the future, but I have tried to enjoy my girls and each of their unique personalities because it won’t be long until they are grown and gone.
- Life is an adventure, live it. When we settle for routine, we miss out on so much life has to offer. My wife has gently nudged me over the last few years to try something different on the menu. I have discovered that I like Indian food, that salt-cured fish isn’t as bad as it sounds, and that I won’t die if I eat a vegetable or two. Sometimes we need interruptions to nudge us out of our routines and discover what we’ve been missing, and for introverts like me, sometimes what we are missing is the chance to develop real and deep relationships with those around us.
- Following God is anything but routine. As the children have been watching movies, waging turf wars, doing impromptu art projects, and all the other myriad of snow day activities, I have been trying to put together on a study of the life of Christ. Just a glance at His life tells us following Him was anything but routine. From wedding parties, to discourses in the Temple, to healings that took the roof off the place, Jesus was always up to something. Demons were being cast out. Blind men were seeing for the first time. Dead men were coming to life. Add to this that in one moment people are trying to make Jesus king, at the next moment they want to stone Him to death, and through it all He was interrupted. Pharisees came to talk to Him in the middle of the night. Roman centurions asked him to heal their servants. Multitudes needed to be fed and demoniacs demanded attention, and in the midst of the chaos, we see Jesus living life with the twelve guys who were closest to Him. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, if you are looking for a safe and routine religion, I definitely don’t recommend Christianity.
So, as I sit here and try to put the finishing touches on this article, I have two kids fighting over which movie to watch and am fielding questions from the oldest on a school paper she is writing, all while listening to the new dryer run and waiting for a phone call from the mechanic letting me know the new door handle on the van is installed, there is one final lesson that God is drilling home through all my interruptions: I am living a very blessed life.