Several years ago an enterprising individual began marketing a line of t-shirts. Printed in large bold lettering across the front of the shirt was a variation of this message:
“(Fill in the blank) Is Life. The Rest Is Just Details.”
They sold millions of them.
Largely, I think, because we tend to see our passions (family, sports, music, art, etc.) as the center of our life – and everything on the periphery is just the small stuff.
But what if that “small stuff” is really the big stuff?
The late Henri J. Nouwen once wrote:interruptions1.jpg
A few years ago I met an old professor at the University of Notre Dame. Looking back on his long life of teaching, he said with a funny wrinkle in his eyes: “I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.”
That is the great conversion in our life: to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions of our projects, but the way in which God molds our hearts and prepares us for his return. Our great temptations are boredom and bitterness. When our good plans are interrupted by poor weather, our well-organized careers by illness or bad luck, our peace of mind by inner turmoil, our hope by a constant changing of the guards, and our desire for immortality by real death, we are tempted to give in to a paralyzing boredom or to strike back in destructive bitterness.
But when we believe that patience can make our expectations grow, then ‘fate’ can be converted into a vocation, wounds into a call for deeper understanding, and sadness into a birthplace for joy.
As parents, our lives are busy and tightly scheduled. In fact, I’m sure many of you have a long list of things to do today. Once you get started, the last thing you want is to be interrupted. But perhaps it’s time to reconsider the reality concerning the snags and snafus surrounding “our work” – and realize that being interrupted is, in fact, the very essence of the great work God has for you and me to do.