The Interruptions that Shape Us.
The doorbell in my new house rings all of the time. I startle every time I hear it because it’s a sound I’m unaccustomed to. Not only did our previous house not have a working doorbell, it lacked a clearly defined front door. In essence, no visitors. No well-meaning neighbors or orange-vested solicitors.
I consider myself a fairly social person so one would think that doorbell ringers would be welcomed. Not so. I’m busy, people! I have a toddler to chase, a sink full of dishes to wash and laundry to fold. If none of those things are happening, I’m usually napping. So the unplanned doorbell ring is not a welcomed sound. But I wish it was.
I’m beginning to recognize that the things that interrupt my life are usually the things that shape me the most.
A sick kid, a traffic jam, a homeless person on the street. A stomach ache, a long line, witnessing an accident. These are all common interruptions.
I’m on the course of my day with an idea of how that day will go then BAM, interruption.
It’s easy to be joyful when things are going along as planned. It’s when those negative interruptions happen that I learn just what kind of person I can be.
Will I get irritated and lash out? Or will I find the best in the situation?
Usually it’s the former. Again, I’m busy, people! No time for interruptions.
When they happen they cause a split second decision and it’s in those seconds that I end up treating people poorly. Being dismissive at the door, short to the cashier and downright rude to other drivers.
It’s easy to treat others poorly when they’re inconvenient.
Sometimes I feel like Jekyl and Hyde. I can have a life-giving conversation with someone for three or more hours as long as it was planned in my day. But put me in a line with a slow cashier at Aldi, and I’ll hand out dirty looks all around.
So it’s with this vulnerability that I ask, what if we all slowed down and welcomed the interruptions? What if a neighbor interrupting nap time could be an opportunity for coffee? Or a traffic jam, an opportunity to listen to a podcast or pray? Sick kids could mean snuggle time and long lines at the grocery would be a great chance to meet someone new.
I believe life would be sweeter, our hearts would be softer and we’d find our stress level decreasing significantly. Let’s face it, life’s interruptions aren’t going away. But our, I mean MY bad attitude can. So next time I’m interrupted in my day, I’ll take a deep breath and remember to turn it into something good. Wanna ring my doorbell and see how I do?
Photo by Samuel Zeller