Consider playing this song as you read.
What do interruptions mean?
Singing on Sunday, this song, my arms found themselves stretched high because I saw God’s love greater than anything I saw this week. And I saw more than my heart could handle.
I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch and got interrupted. My interruption had a long flannel shirt on and boots. Nothing in between. You’ve got to imagine with me or click exit on this screen. A long flannel shirt on and boots. Nothing in between. He was right outside of the Marriott and was grooming his hair and carrying on a conversation with his reflection in the advertisement window. “This is my city and this is not okay,” was my thought. Not my first thought. Or even tenth. I’d already been downtown and seen more depravity of humanity.
I told the valet. “Not again,” he replied. “Target has already had to call the police on this guy and all they could do was tell him to move along.” “Move along?” I said out loud. I’m sure of it. As if that would suddenly make sense to a man in nothing but flannel shirt and boots? I was greatly interrupted.
I sat on a bench with my friend to pray and a man lay sprawling in the grass. When was the last time he ate? Where were his friends? How did this reality become his reality? My prayer time was interrupted.
What do these interruptions mean?
Interruptions have the capability to deter us from our purpose, but that's not what they are really about. There is a higher purpose to these moments we call interruptions. Could it be that what we call interruptions are really moments for us to see who we are here to love?
I met somewhat-of-a-new-friend for coffee. It’s my favorite kind of coffee talks. We talked family and faith and favorites in this season of life. Plus I saw a few other gym friends at the coffee shop. As I drove home, my mind told me all that lay ahead for the day. It was all good because it was Friday and a quiet weekend awaited. As I got out of the van, the sound was undeniable. I had a flat tire and it was getting flatter quick. My day just got interrupted.
I called AAA and they came to my rescue faster than their predicted arrival. I gathered my things and tossed them in the van for the rest of the day considering how unpredictable it had been thus far. My things included banana bread. Glad I remembered that. We had extra mini loaves and the kids were going to gift them to another teacher. With a spare tire, I was on my way to a tire repair place to get the 2 nails removed. Thank you very much, AAA. I called Midas to give them a heads up I was on my way. “We’re full for the day,” Alex told me. “Alex, I can only drive so far on this spare. And I’ve got to volunteer at picture day at my kid’s school in 2 hours. And I don’t think this will take long. It’s just 2 nails.” I looked in the passenger seat. “Oh, Alex….and I’ve got banana bread!” “Come on in"!” Please note: always bake extra banana bread.
That was quick. Alex and Midas were interruption stoppers. They patched the tire and patched up my day. That’s how I was seeing it in the moment.
“Dyson, Dyson.” I heard a woman on her bike shouting. “Have you seen my dog?” she asked in panic. Me and the Midas team had. We had just seen a lost dog. “He went up that street there.” As we pointed and watched her hurry, I heard, “Shauna, Shauna. Don’t you see?”
“Shauna, you’re calling these interruptions. I’m calling them part of the day I have made for you.” I heard God say.
These interruptions mean I have someone for you.
Yes. Of course. That’s what this is all about! The man in his flannel top and boots. The sprawling man. Gym friends. The AAA guy. Alex at Midas. Forget the to-do list. (Well, not completely! But don’t let it get in the way!) God was getting my attention.
I needed some lunch and was in a part of the city where I don’t know the restaurants well. I typed in “sandwich” at the traffic light and found my way around the block to a butcher shop in the front/made-to-order sandwich shop in the back. This would need to be quick. Why? 1. I fed the machine 6 minutes. 2. Parking meter man was right outside. (what do you call these folks?) 3. My volunteer position started in 20 minutes. I was next in line, getting the basic turkey sandwich on sourdough. Please note: Anytime you say this needs to be quick, you’ve just spoken a lesson of patience over your entire body.
I overheard the conversation of the customer in front of me. Naturally, I picked up where he left off. The topic? Homelessness, mental illness and drug epidemic in our city. I told the owner how my heart is broking and growing frustrated with each and every story I see. She concurred and then went deep. She shared about her faith being what gives her hope as they live this out where they live and where they work! Amy and I are now best friends! And once again, God is getting my attention. He’s calling me to know Him more. To see how much He loves me. How much He loves all of us.
God is getting our attention.
When God sees the naked man, the Midas men, the woman and her dog, the sandwich shop owner, the person who dropped nails on the street that ended up in my tire, He sees the person. He sees who He created. He loves who He sees. I’m not looking right. I’m seeing interruptions and the problem. I’m not seeing the person trapped inside wanting to feel loved and hear truth and believe hope.
Dwellers of purpose, we are His image-bearers and therefore we are grace givers. Our natural inclination is for others to serve us. But when we’re living on purpose, God is setting us up to serve others. Nothing is routine and all of it is by God’s grace. Henri Nouwen described it this way: ‘My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered my interruptions were my work.’” (Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home)
Interruptions are attention moments.
God intends for us to see one another. To really see one another. And this isn’t while we’re out and about, but when we’re home and comfortable. When the kids need help, want to play a game, bring that book to you again, and get up for the 5th time at night. When the neighbors need something or are being a nuisance. When the roommates are hosting a party or your study group cancelled. What is God saying? What is these are moments meant to turn us to Him?
Our interruptions mean more than what’s on the surface. Our interruptions mean love is greater.
My interruptions! Meeting people God ordained in my day, in their day. Learning lessons that chisel away selfishness and recenter me on what’s really important.
What do interruptions mean to you?
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message) His love is great because of the power of the cross of Jesus Christ!