Life is full of interruptions. Every day, you have small, nagging distractions that interfere with whatever you intend to do. It may not be anything major, and it may be short-lived. But these interruptions are constant. And irritating.
People who are demanding. Things that waste your time. Machines that break down. You can’t stop these distractions from coming, but you can choose not to give in. At least not right then.
Then there are the larger interruptions that reorient your entire life’s plan and take over everything. You have dreams and sometimes those dreams don’t work out the way you want, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Death. Illness. Financial setbacks. Relationship breakups.
I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a big interruption. Not yet. But small ones? Always.
Especially now. I set goals—very specific goals—when I switched to part-time work. I planned to use my time at home to polish my first novel (in a series of three), finish the second one, even start the third one, all while trying to find an agent who will represent me.
But that all changed when I became the (temporary) caregiver for not only my husband, but my parents as well. Lately, my free time has been spent running a Medical Shuttle and Stitch Removal Service, with a blood clean-up sideline. (Seriously, a great idea for a ministry to seniors in the community!)
My husband’s current schedule of four therapy appointments and two wound care appointments every week will end someday. I’m grateful for that and don’t take it lightly. But I’ve lost count of the number of doctor’s offices, in three cities, I’ve visited these past couple of months.
Needless to say, I’m over it. But this season in my life is not over. When I try to imagine the years ahead, I realize this may just be the beginning of a l o n g winter.
Will it be a winter of discontent? That seems to be the one factor I can control.
The situations are out of my control. But my reaction to them—my attitude—that I own.
I wish I could say I always respond pleasantly, with great patience. But I’d be lying if I did.
When I lived in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, I learned to expect the unexpected. That seemed appropriate for that place in time, but aren’t you supposed to better able to control life in the States? I guess not.
When I asked a group of friends if their lives had turned out the way they’d expected, all of them said a resounding, “No.” They didn’t complain about their lives; sometimes they could already see how the different path was actually much better. Even the ones who face extremely difficult situations said they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
No, they haven’t accomplished their well-laid plans, at least not in whole. So how do they take that in stride? As one friend said, after learning her child was disabled: “I expected my life to go in one direction and the Lord said, no, this is the life I planned for you. For the rest of your life. I just had to accept it and get on with it.”
She learned the secret: to hold your days—your life—with palms open before the Lord. She learned to say, “Not my will, but thine.”