I love giving gifts and I love receiving them too. This summer, we did a whole series on the Gifts of a Sacred Summer, including REST, PLAY, SILENCE, GRATITUDE, LOVE, CREATING, and BEING IN NATURE. The Gift of Wonder is the title of Christine’s Book. WONDER is an amazing gift to open daily! But I’m not sure anyone really likes to open the GIFT OF INTERRUPTION! When I was the administrative assistant at a large church, I used to say the job description needed to be “the ability to handle the gift of interruption!”.
If I’m honest, it’s not one of my favorite gifts to open!
I like the plans I’ve made and I like things to go the way I’ve planned.
Last month, we experienced the gift of interruption while on our summer holiday. We were finally going to be together as a family for the first time since Christmas 2019. We have the gift of a family cottage that we get to use on Lake Michigan and it’s a thinplace for us. A place of rest, connection, and the time we get to reset for the next season. We arrived on Monday night, celebrated Rob’s birthday on Tuesday night, and just after dinner, after starting the laundry and dishwasher, a storm blew over the lake and blew over trees into the power lines. The power was out for five days. Now I totally know that this isn’t as bad as what happened in New Orleans or the North East with power outages post-Hurricane Ida. But this just wasn’t what I’d hope for…
At the cottage, when the power goes out, the water goes out too! Thanks to Covid, I’m used to washing my hands multiple times a day. I found myself standing at the sink with hands covered in soap just to realize that the water didn’t work.
Or, I’d walk into a room and want to turn on the lights… habit.
I’m grateful that I always take battery candles on vacations because we used them everywhere.
And instead of restful, rhythmic days at the lake, we were going to get ice or walking down the street to fill jugs with water to flush the toilets… doing laundry at the laundromat, and trying to salvage the two weeks of groceries I brought from home.
This interruption showed me that I have less margin than I thought I had.
I wasn’t prepared. I thought I was rested and had taken time out over the summer to refill my cup, but along with the electricity being out, the world decided to get crazier and interrupt things further.
The crisis in Afghanistan happened, a horrific earthquake in Haiti, and then mask wars in my home state of Tennessee, which now has the worst Covid numbers of the pandemic. I just didn’t have the bandwidth for all of this!
An Interruption of peace
An Interruption of presence
Interruption of the plans I’d made for a fun time with our sons.
Interruption of time
Interruption of relationships
Interruption of trust in my fellow man.
An Interruption of the plans I’d made for fall because the variant canceled things.
I realized I needed to stop and remember JESUS!
On hearing this, Jesus slipped away privately by boat to be alone. But when the crowds discovered he had sailed away, they emerged from all the nearby towns and followed him on foot. 14 So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd. Matthew 14:13-14 (The Passion Translation)
When Jesus tried to go on retreat, he got interrupted too!
The crowds followed him.
Instead of getting angry and frustrated like I did,
Jesus had compassion.
Jesus healed them.
Jesus fed them.
Jesus showed up even in the interruption.
What about you? What interruptions have you experienced lately?
How are you doing with these interruptions?
Could interruptions be gifts in disguise rather than just frustrations that make you want to pull your hair out?
What if you could have compassion for yourself? What if you could allow Jesus to show you his gift of compassion and healing just for you? How would that make a difference?
I realized in receiving this gift of interruption that I need to find BALANCE.
I need to rebuild peace and rhythm.
I need to do the practices that help me stay grounded with Jesus.
- taking prayer walks
- painting/doing art
- making time to call or see friends
- practicing gratefulness… I’m keeping a gratitude list, adding to it each night before bed, and saying thank you to God before I get out of bed each day.
- giving myself permission to be just where I am, in all the messiness of the day and remembering that Jesus is with me showing me compassion and love.
What things help you find balance? What practices give you peace and restore your rhythm with God? Take some time to consider this over the next few days.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” JESUS
And we’d love you to join us for our retreat next weekend. We will be live on Zoom together on Saturday, September 25th. Gearing up for a Season of Gratitude. A great way to build some rhythm and find some peace!