When I consider the life of Jesus, one of the interesting lessons I take away is to do with interruptions. All the stuff written about him wasn’t strategized or pre-planned: the water being turned into wine, the fish and the loaves, the calming on the stormy seas… all those miraculous stories were based on interruptions.
Think about it for a minute: did Jesus wake up in the morning and think, “Today I’m going to heal a leper, make a lame guy walk and find some random woman at a well after a long day and tell her about her husband”? In other words, did he plan the interruptions in his day? The answer is no.
Now, I know the debate: fully God (and hence, all-knowing) but fully human at the same time. What was going on in that mind of his? You and I will never really know.
For me, I like thinking of him as fully human. I like thinking that his interruptions weren’t planned. I can relate.
Last week my wife had a scheduled operation to repair a hernia. We were all set, when that morning our youngest continued to complain of a sore stomach. Long story short, she needed to go in for surgery too. “What are the chances?” my wife asked me that morning.
“Actually pretty good,” I replied. Funny how, as a parent, you become battle-hardened to these interruptions. The printer never works when you’re in a rush, the fridge is always empty when your kids are hungriest, and you only realize the toilet paper has run out after you’ve sat down on the loo.
So on a day that I was prepped to be a nursing husband, I was now thrust into the scenario of also being a nursing father. Two surgeries, two separate wards, two overnight stays – all on the same day.
I realized, on that particular morning, how slow my neural pathways are to realign in the process. “But what about work? Meetings?” In other words, I should be straight out asking: “What about the less important priorities in my life?”
That’s the thing about interruptions. They often cut to the chase immediately and ask life’s biggest question: what’s most important to you?
As I sat with my daughter in the surgical ward that night after her surgery, alternating between her and my wife in separate floors of the hospital, I revisited this question. What’s most important to me?
I reflect on how Jesus took it all in his stride. Plenty of interruptions. And he took it all on, seemingly non-plussed, according to the text. How do you get there? How do you get to that point? I have so much to learn.
It’s the interruptions that make life what it is. I look at my life and I’m aware that the routine builds itself into a mesh of mundanity in our memories. It’s the interruptions that write their way into history books.