It’s no secret that I’m a planner. But what to do when those plans get interrupted? Any mom of small children will tell you that interruptions are more normal than plans! But even those of us without little ones know that battle of interruptions disrupting our plans. The phone call you weren’t expecting, the 30 minute meeting that turns into an hour, the sick child on a day you need to be at work. What do we do with those interruptions?
Many of you know that Laura isn’t my only client. I manage websites and social media for a variety of folks. My client load is anywhere from 3 to 7 in a given month. In addition to that, I frequently sub at my children’s school. And on top of that paying work, I run my household of two kids and a husband. That is why I need plan.
It’s been a busy season in our household lately, so I’ve found myself need to say, “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to more “important” things. I had signed up to accompany my younger daughter on a field trip one afternoon, but said “no” to helping out in the classroom that morning. She was disappointed, but understood that I needed the morning to work so I could enjoy the afternoon with her.
So that morning, I got my family up, fed, dressed, and out the door to school. It was character day for my little one, so that included a bit of extra care in the dressing department. She went as Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings.
In my quiet house, I settled in to work. And then the interruption – the phone rang. I saw from the called ID that it was a good friend of mine. I don’t always answer the phone when I’m working, but this time I did. My friend had a flat tire. The shop said they could fix it, but didn’t know how long it would take. She was also going on the field trip in the afternoon. But unlike me, she had volunteered to help out in the classroom that morning. And now she didn’t know if she’d be able to make it.
I should also point out that the classroom activity was a crafting activity. The students were making dioramas out of shoeboxes to illustrate a scene with their character. I don’t craft. I appreciate the value of crafting, but I don’t craft. And so the dilemma. Interruption or opportunity? Do I stay and keep working and pray things work out for my friend? Or do I step in and help out?
I took the opportunity. I quickly changed into “grown up clothes” (working from home definitely has its advantages), packed a lunch for me and my friend, and headed out to pick her up at the car place. On my way, she called and said that they had already fixed her tire and she was about to head to school. I could have turned around and gone home, but I didn’t.
My daughter’s smile when she saw me in the hallway at school was priceless. The teacher and other parents enjoyed having have an additional helper. I hot glued all kinds of fun things and enjoyed the delightful imagination of third graders.
Was it an interruption in my day? Yes, yes it was. Did saying “yes” to my friend and going to school mean I didn’t get the work done that morning as I planned? Yes, it did. I would work a bit later that evening to complete the most necessary items. But in the end, was it worth it? Without a doubt.
Please don’t hear me saying that we should always say “yes” when we’re asked to do something. In fact, had I said “yes” to the classroom volunteer, I would not have been available to pack my friend a lunch and go pick her up. Every time we say “yes” to something, we say “no” to something else. But sometimes, those interruptions that come to us provide amazing opportunities to bless others, and receive joy in return.
So the next time you get interrupted, ask yourself – is this an opportunity? Can I turn this around to be a blessing? Sometimes a change in perspective is all we need to open up a whole new world.