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by Maria Kane

“You know, …my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work…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?”

~Henri Nouwen from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

Years ago, when I took the subway to work each summer, I relished the 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading it afforded me each day. One afternoon, however, my harried look and open book failed to keep one rider from striking up a conversation with me. Although I was initially annoyed being unable to read and keep to myself, my seat mate quickly won me over. His passion for his work was palpable, and his willingness to share his story with a complete stranger left me in awe. He embodied the peace and beauty of wholeheartedly embracing one’s gifts and vocation. When I confessed my uncertainty and fear of the future, he shared with me his own vocational journey toward becoming an attorney—at the IRS, no less. His story, ripe with periods of doubt, change, sacrifice, and ultimately gratitude, shattered my allusions of control and need for certainty and empowered me to make space for my heart’s desire. This man may have interrupted my day, but he also showed me how to celebrate my life.

Interruptions will always be a part of our lives. 

Our calendars will go haywire. Our best intentions will be thwarted. We will get frustrated. 

…And that is okay. 

The death of what we think we need and want may be the birthplace for new life, new dreams, and new possibilities. The resurrection invites us to reconsider unforeseen circumstances as more than mere“interupptions.” The very term suggests that unplanned moments are little more than nuisances to overcome rather than chances for grace. Indeed, it was the interruptions, not the plans or expectations of others, to which Jesus attended. He knew they were not interruptions but moments of grace. May we have the courage to receive this day and all that it brings in tenacious trust of the One who is making all things new.

Rather than complaining about an “interruption,” today, pray the following breath prayer: “Lord, open my eyes.”


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