It was a busy week, full of stress and weariness, and worst of all, nothing was getting done. It had less to do with time management or over commitment, and more to do with the ‘more than usual’ interruptions and distractions that entered my life. I felt like a runner whose legs were heavy as lead pipes, and yet, with my sides burning and mouth wide open desperately gasping for air, I knew that there were more miles and obstacles ahead…And than I reflected on these words:
“Don’t we often look at the many events in our lives as big or small interruptions, interrupting many of our plans, projects and life schemes? Don’t we feel an inner protest when a student interrupts our reading, bad weather our summer, illness our well-scheduled plans, the death of a dear friend our peaceful state of mind, a cruel war our ideas about the goodness of man, and the many harsh realities of life our good dreams about it? And doesn’t this unending row of interruptions build in our hearts feelings of anger, frustration and even revenge, so much so that at times we see the real possibility that growing old can become synonymous with growing bitter?
But what if our interruptions are in fact our opportunities, if they are challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place and through which we come to the fullness of being.
What if the evens of our history are molding us as a sculptor molds his clay, and if it is only in a careful obedience to these molding hands that we can discover our real vocation and become mature people?
What if all the unexpected interruptions are in fact the invitations to give up old-fashioned and out moded styles of living and are opening up new unexplored areas of experience?
What if our history does not prove to be a blind impersonal sequence of events over which we have no control, but rather reveals to us a guiding hand pointing to a personal encounter in which all our hopes and aspirations will reach their fulfillment?”
Tomorrow, how will I mold and shape these interruptions?
May I cast off the temptation of despair and speak about the fertile tree while witnessing the dying of the seed. May I look for hope in the middle of crying cities, burning hospitals, and desperate parents and children.
Then indeed we can break out of the prison of an anonymous series of events and listen to the God of history who speaks to us in the center of our solitude and respond to his ever-new call for conversion!
[excerpt taken from Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen]