I’ve sort of always had my life planned out and I liked it that way.
I’d wake up in the mornings with my list of things to do, what I needed to accomplish, along with a schedule and time table to guide my day.
Efficiency was (and still is) important to me.
Interruptions were irritating and hiccups in my plans were just plain frustrating.
When we up and moved to China for a year to live and work, I had no idea what I was in for.
If I got one thing done on my To-Do list of ten things, the day had been productive.
If I only had to restart and reboot my work computer three times before noon, things were shaping up well.
If we left for dinner 45 minuets after we had originally planned, we were running on time.
Seriously. This was life every day.
At first, I did not weather this part about life abroad well at all. Just ask my dear husband. It’s a miracle we both made it out alive with how insane this drove me.
I tried to deal with it, I really did. I tried to not get so frustrated and irritated but I still did.
There was one morning that I remember distinctly. Before 8am, I had already been interrupted from morning rounds twice, spent an inordinate amount of time trouble shooting some medical equipment with Justin and my phone continued to ring incessantly with more issues lining up to tackle next.
That morning I had one of those rare but highlighted ah-ha moments. In the midst of a ringing phone and equipment that was still not working I thought ‘the only way I am going to survive this day is if I’m willing to be interrupted.’
Willing to be interrupted.
For all my years of being frustrated and irritated by interruptions, I began to find that when I was willing to be interrupted, interruptions weren’t a deterrent from my plan but rather an opportunity that I would never have had otherwise.
Interruptions allow space for conversations I would have otherwise skipped over.
Interruptions allowed for little moments of laughter sprinkled throughout the day that I would have experienced.
Interruptions allowed for moments of growth, learning and understanding that were shaping me and refining my heart.
The funny thing is that when I look back at our year in China, that year was a giant interruption in our life. We hadn’t planned on moving across the world and in a thousand tiny ways and a hundred big ways, it shook things up, leaving a giant mess to sort through and figure out. Life then and since has not been nice and neat.
But having our lives interrupted in big ways and our days interrupted in small ways has taught me to see the color and beauty there is all around. And often times, we only see the beauty when we are interrupted long enough to stop and look up, to stop and look around.
Be willing to be interrupted.
See what opportunities may arise, what conversations are waiting to be had, and what beauty there is all around.