This week has ended better than it began. Actually, at this time of year, the weeks don’t begin or end; instead they just kind of blur into one another. I think by Boxing Day things should slow down again. Yesterday was Labour Day, and it seems tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We’ve had record numbers in visitors showing up at church on a long weekend to check things out, new staff coming on board, new ministries beginning, and old ones being revived. And meetings. I’ve had meetings. Since the start of September I have had 1,809 meetings … or something like that. We even had mascots show up after church last Sunday for our community party. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of excitement – a good crazy. But as exciting as it all is, it means I’m a little tired too.
Crying over spilled coffee
Monday morning I walked into my office with not quite enough sleep, and maybe just enough coffee to help me get things going. I had another busy day planned, with more meetings to prepare for, and an inbox full of emails to reply to. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to the day that much, but I was really looking forward to the double-double I just picked up (even if it was just McDonald’s coffee). I went to – well, actually, I don’t really know what I went to do – take off my bag and sit at my desk? Anyways, next thing I know I’m juggling a book bag, a tablet, and a cup of hot coffee. Sure enough the coffee ended up on the floor before I’d even taken a sip. For a second I felt like crying, and then I felt like punching something. But I’ve been working on my temper, so I sat down and stared at the mess.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I was beyond frustrated by this point, and so I left.[/pullquote]After a few deep breaths I got the mess cleaned up and then sat down again, got my computer out, and started to work through messages I’d already been putting off for too long. 60 seconds in and the internet goes down. I run around 3 floors checking the modems and routers and resetting them and still nothing. I take 10 minutes to read & write and check again, and nothing. Monday did not start the way I needed it to, I was beyond frustrated by this point, and so I left.
Paying attention to the interruptions
I didn’t leave because I was that mad. I left because a while ago I learned to pay attention to the interruptions. I decided to head out to a store and get a few things that we needed at the church. It was at the store where I found a salesperson to help me out, and as we began to talk I decided to share with him, for whatever reason, that I was a pastor.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]He needed to talk, and I needed to listen.[/pullquote] Suddenly he opened up to me about his faith journey, having once heavily involved with a faith community and now burned out on church. He was in search of something, but he didn’t know what. I know what he’s in search of, but I didn’t tell him; he’s heard it before, and I couldn’t help but sense plenty of people have told him. Instead I just listened, smiled, and nodded my head. I think it’s been a while since anybody truly listened to him. In fact, two minutes in, and he said, “sorry, you don’t want to listen to me.” I smiled, shook my head, and said, “I do” (I did). He needed to talk, and I needed to listen.
All in all the entire conversation took five minutes of my time, and I truly enjoyed listening to him (it was a lot better than mopping up coffee). I’m not sure what kind of space this man was in before I came into the store, but he truly did need someone to just listen attentively to him. A simple “interruption” in my day, which only took five minutes, but gave someone a sense of worth and hope. Pay attention to the interruptions in your life. Whether it’s things not going your way, or people coming by unexpectedly. No, there’s rarely a “good” time for interruptions, that’s why they’re interruptions. But they don’t have to take all of your time, either. An interruption doesn’t mean you have to give up an hour of your time. Just set aside five minutes, pay attention to someone, and see what happens as a result.
I’m hoping to take the guy out for coffee next week to listen some more … and hopefully not spill coffee all over him.