“I don’t mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.” I saw that plaque in a diner and knew exactly what it meant. If I don’t share my thoughts immediately, they will be gone…immediately. Still, I force myself to refrain because it’s downright rude to interrupt. I mean, how many times have you been telling a story when someone one-ups you or changes the subject and takes over the conversation? Without ever asking you to finish yours? I-R-R-I-T-A-T-I-N-G!
A newly-purchased sign, hanging in my step daughter’s kitchen, counters that quote.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?” Nikki purchased it, hoping a relative gets the point.
And no, I am not that relative.
I’m really not.
On the day of last year’s eclipse, I was at my friend Marti’s house. She was watching her granddaughter, Isabel, and was explaining the solar phenomenon to her. As Marti and I talked, Isabel exploded with random thoughts. Each time, Marti gently told her granddaughter that the adults were visiting and she needed to wait her turn. Isabel tried to be patient, and then she did what every well-mannered child does when she can wait no longer—she raised her hand and waved it frantically. Her behavior was delightful.
Many adults could learn from her example.
Of course, we all know that all interrupting is not always bad. Some news should not wait, like telling me that my grandchild is playing with matches or the neighbor’s dog is chewing on my patio furniture. In reality, life is all about interruptions, isn’t it? Henry Nouwen, a Roman Catholic priest and theologian, wrote, “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered my interruptions were my work.” I get it. Most of my articles are based on something happening I wasn’t expecting. Our life’s narrative is constantly being rewritten because of interruptions. In the past year, several of my friends have found that to be true. Cancer. A hurricane. An unexpected pregnancy. Divorce. Bankruptcy. Care of an elderly parent. Addiction. Mental illness. Death. The Bible is jam-packed with interruptions. A young girl’s life was interrupted to be told that she would bring the Messiah into the world. Jesus was constantly interrupted by evil spirits or arrogant religious teachers, moments that gave him an opportunity to remind his listeners of grace. Judas interrupted Jesus’ celebration of the Passover with his disciples and again with his prayer time in the Garden, all leading up to the incredible sadness after Jesus’ death being interrupted by the life-changing news that his grave was empty. And for those whose lives are based on that resurrection, there remains one final interruption for which we must be prepared. We find it in Thessalonians 1:16-17: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Now, that’s an interruption we can’t afford to miss.