Interruptions and Expectations

My brother and his wife have had an encounter with the Great Interrupter. Perhaps you have had one of these – when your life is going along without significant change, but there’s a bit of restlessness and wonder that hits you time to time. And then in a slow but steady encounter with the Great Interrupter, you realize that your life is being interrupted.

In their case the encounter has put them in a place of selling a home of over 15 years, leaving a church of the same, leaving a community where they have loved hard, and been loved back, and leaving the only home their children remember. They are embarking on a mid-life journey to begin a life in the Middle East. Who needs a mid-life crisis when the Great Interrupter is in your life?

It is an encouragement and challenge to be a spectator of this interruption. There are the myriad of details that boggle the mind and include everything from the first announcement made to friends and colleagues to changing lights so that the bathroom will be more acceptable for the Realtor. Details that include sorting through their children’s elementary school papers and art projects, dusty from their home in the attic, to giving away furniture.

There is the giving up of a cat to their newly married daughter, knowing that no more will Shasta watch them from her perch on the chair or window. And the lasts…the last Thanksgiving in this particular house, the last Christmas, the last …. just fill in the blank. How I hate “lasts”. The finality puts a nervous pit in the stomach.  But in all this the interruptions continue and the Great Interrupter continues to guide, and push, and remind that none of this is possible without His guidance and great love.

Throughout history God has interrupted people’s lives, moving them from comfort to the unknown and asking them to trust along the way. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and more are in the ranks of those whose lives were interrupted and who walked in faith. They lived in a world without cell phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Kodak photos online. They didn’t even have the pony express. Leaving and saying good-bye was final.

There is a quiet trust that sustains them and reminds me and other observers that when God as the Great Interrupter is involved, although it may not make sense to some,  you are in a safety zone of sorts and your soul can rest in this knowledge. With great interruption comes great expectation.

Have you encountered God as the Great Interrupter? What is the story of your interruptions and what did you feel and think as you went through them? Would love to hear your story through the comments!

Bloggers Note: Check out the organization that my brother and sister-in-law will be involved with called The Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East. (ISRME) This innovative institute has an aim to “encourage scholarship, academic collaboration and awareness of the diversity of religious life in the Middle East, and the ideas, belief systems, rituals, histories and social structures of religious communities.” This is the first of its kind and an exciting venture.

“I’ll Miss It!” or “Good Riddance!”

In the sidebar of the CNN website is a small box with a “Quick Vote” heading. It is a poll asking readers how they feel about 2011 ending. The choices are:

  1. I’ll miss it or
  2. Good riddance!

An overwhelming majority (85%) voted “Good Riddance”. Apparently 2012 is not a year that is favored among CNN readers.  Like any statistic this has many variables that could be discussed in detail to determine reasons why the vote went overwhelmingly toward those who happily close the door on 2011. I heard once that statistics are like bikinis: What they reveal is interesting and what they conceal is significant.

So what about you? Is 2011 a year that brings back fond memories of people, places and activities? Is it a year that brought job loss, hurting children or the death of people you love? Is it a year that you want to wrap tightly in Saran wrap so you don’t have to look at everything it held? Did you slam the door last night and say good riddance, or wistfully sip champagne and say “I’ll miss you!”?

For me it was a good year. The things that affected us significantly were an Egyptian uprising affecting our oldest; a trip to the United Kingdom and participation in the wedding of a friend; a daughter’s return from Italy and Turkey;a son’s wedding; two more family weddings; a job loss; a job gain; and finally a trip to Egypt where we witnessed first hand Tahrir Square and celebrated the Holy Nativity with four of our five children. And in between the semicolons were smiles, tears, anger, sleepless nights, joy, “shouts of pleasure and whispers of pain”, blogging, and a greater understanding of the mystery of grace.

How about you? Is it “Good Riddance” or “I’ll miss it” and why? Weigh in through the comments! Would love to hear from you and Happy New Year!