I was “interrupted” all day today. Loving, kind, sweet folks from church and beyond kept coming into my office, calling me, texting (seemingly) all day. As my dear friend jokingly pointed out recently, it’s because I’m SOOOOO important (I hope you got the extreme sarcasm and self deprecating humor there!).
It was a busy day for me with newsletter articles to write, meetings to keep, a sermon and worship to begin planning for… And all throughout the day these loving, kind, sweet folks kept “interrupting” me. It was hard to stay focused on a task or to get anything done.
As I went for a short, re-focusing walk around the church this afternoon, it struck me: these “interruptions” ARE THE THING! They aren’t interruptions at all. They are the most important part of my day. The connection (hearing and loving), the care (praying and hoping), the attention and presence in these unpredictable encounters are the exact thing that matters most in a day.
I’ll get the newsletter article written. That sermon will get done too (Lord, did you hear that?). I’m sure all the tasks I fill my life with will (eventually) have their time. But the thing that matters most is being able to stop and be fully present with those who are right in front of us — even if that is over a text message or phone call these days.
I hope you are hearing me say that I get this mixed up all the time. I was busily rushing home for a meeting this afternoon and my wife (Lindsay) heard me pull in the driveway. She and the dog came out to greet me — adorable smile on her face and all! How sweet is this woman!?! But remember, I’m SOOO important that I brushed right past her to make it in time for that Zoom call that I just couldn’t be 30 seconds late for. The irony is, I was so frazzled by the pace of my day that I mixed up my schedule and was, in fact, 30 minutes early for my call! I could have hugged Lindsay, kissed her, checked in with her day. I could have been fully present to the love of my life because being fully present IS THE THING!
If you’re like me, you will spend a good deal of time beating yourself up for mistakes like this. Rushing past someone so sweet and caring is no small mistake either! But if you have people in your life like Lindsay, who is compassionate and merciful, they will forgive you. Then, they will hope for your full presence the next time.
So give it to them. I plan on leaving my desk full of things to do this evening. I plan on leaving my to-do list unchecked on many fronts. I plan on having another busy day tomorrow. But I also plan on having a wonderful evening with the love of my life, my Darlin-dear. I plan on rolling my eyes as she saves a little from her plate for that sweet dog. I plan on watching a show, playing a game or doing something with her to give her my full presence, and feel hers too. Because: THAT IS THE THING!
I pray we all take time to take time. I pray we are just a little better at not seeing those texts, phone calls, messages, “interruptions” as interruptions at all — but the thing that matters most. Be with those who are in front of you today. Life is more full when we are.
Grace & Peace, Pastor Cole