Practical Spirituality series
My life seems like one continuous interruption. Normal times I look forward to are rare. Singer John Lennon made famous the quote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
During preparing this post, people interrupted me a dozen times with others’ needs. Life doesn’t wait for me to not be busy, it just keeps happening. Even when the worst or best times are happening, life just continues with the usual interruptions.
While Jesus was having dinner at someone’s house who apparently had no good will for him, a prostitute interrupted him. He said:
“I tell you, her sins, many though they are, are forgiven, because she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” (NASB) See Luke 7:44-47
This verse might not seem related to interruptions, but it was typical of Jesus’ ministry. Everywhere he went to tell others the Good News of peace and forgiveness to all who believe, those with health needs and those who lived immoral lives interrupted him. They came before him with their needs. Even Roman soldiers and those from other nations came to him.
Those with needs enabled Jesus to show God’s compassion, his authority, and demonstrate what it means to forgive and love.
We all get interrupted
Life finds every one of us. Sometimes the interruptions are large, and I’ve had them. We “go on sabbatical” from everything sometimes and try to find the meaning and purpose that guides our lives. Sometimes we outgrow it and have to get reoriented.
Sometimes we find ourselves in an existential funk in which life has lost all luster. Other times, we’re bored out of our minds. There are times when we’re interrupted by disease that leaves our future in peril.
Disease happened to Suleika Jaouad, writer, teacher, activist, who in her TED Talk described her trek through diagnoses at age 22 with deadly leukemia. This disease sidelined the college graduate’s career aspirations as a war correspondent and left a blank space where her future should have been. She survived in the in-between. This was the inspiration for this post: What almost dying taught me about living. (I’m a founding financial sponsor of the TED organization. Please help sponsor TED.)
Living in the in-between
We never get so big or important that we’re above it all. Life happens to all of us and it brings the difficult with the wonderful, the trivial with the important (they’re often the opposite of what we think), the purposeful with the chaotic, and the mundanely essential with the awesome.
As important as Jesus’ message of Good News was to the world, he let the little children come sit on his knee; he healed the sick; he acknowledged the prostitutes and tax collectors; he attended to those of other nations and beliefs who were considered unworthy and taboo, and took time to explain to the doubters and those who would get rid of him.
We should be like Jesus.
What does this mean to me?
Probability and Potential Spaces for living between
This is definitely a potential space, meaning there is opportunity here, and it’s pregnant with possibilities. Some people might call this mindfulness. Others, reframing our purpose in those times of disruption.
So I pose these questions: What is your way to live during interruptions? What could you be doing? What are the needs that need addressed?
Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.