Does this ever happen to you; you have planned out your day and have calculated how long each work or project should take, so you believe you will get it all done. But then someone calls - or just drops by, to chat, and your hours slip away on you. You hate to be rude but you start dropping hints that you have things to do, or places to go. . . . and they do not catch on?
My general rule for years has been that if people interrupt me - those are divine appointments, so people should come before my plans for a productive agenda. I usually stop what I'm doing and give them my full attention.
Therefore, the COVID restrictions have been rather a blessing for me, and as a rule people do not just drop unannounced. But last Wednesday morning a man stopped by who used to live in a basement 3 doors down. (He had been a nurse, but after being attacked by some thugs on 20th St. he had all kinds of health problems and surgeries; he had stopped by before when he was feeling depressed or discouraged, because he knew I would bring up trusting the Lord).
Well, this time he was in a good mood. He likes to help strangers when he sees something he could do, and one such man had thanked him by giving him a toque with Jesus in the shape of a fish on one side, and on the other was another Christian symbol. It was a warm knitted toque, but he was especially thrilled with the symbols. He was raised a Catholic and has started going back to church and he was telling me of times when he prays now, asking the Lord to help him. I rejoiced with him, and shared a few things the Lord has done for me lately.
When he was ready to go it just after 12 noon. So... no rebuilt pages for the site I was working on.
I had posted an ad on Kijiji on Friday over lunch for a stationery exercise bike that was in my way. Four people emailed to ask if it was still available. I replied to each one that they should phone me if they planned to come and I would give them my address.
I wanted to make a run out for a few groceries on Saturday, but I stayed in and did things indoors waiting for those calls. After lunch one man phoned, and said he would come from the east side. In 20 minutes he was at the door. I had dragged the bike to the front porch so he didn't have to come in far to see it. It only took him 3-4 minutes to look it over and he paid for it and carried it away. I quickly cancelled the ad, and emailed the others to say they were too late. No more waiting for people to come see the bike!
Then I went out to shovel the snow outside my gate. Then I came in for a few minutes to catch my breath and I would go for groceries. But a woman I had never met phoned from Calgary, sure we were related and we discussed all kinds of things about genealogy and family history, etc. I hinted several times that I planned to go out for groceries, but she wanted to ask "one more thing" - several times. After about two hours we were done. It was after 6 pm and dark outside, but I decided to do my shopping trip anyway, because I didn't want to do it on Sunday - especially since the forecast was for snow from Sunday to Thursday. Saturday had been sunny and the temperature was above 0.
I had to make three stops, but I tried to be quick about each one. Still, when I got home it was after 7 pm. I had not got my housecleaning done, and I felt too tried and wiped out to tackle that. I warmed up a bowl of soup for supper and after I'd brought up the laundry from the basement, I basically crashed in front of the computer and dozed off.
On Sunday I made a list of all those who had written me over Christmas to whom I wanted to reply and send a letter of thanks. I would do that in the evening.
As I was about to eat my supper, that woman phoned again. Her efforts to email me were bouncing back. I checked her spelling and realized she had left out a letter. In a few minutes I saw four emails came in from her. But I had an ESL class to attend on Zoom at 7 - which usually goes close to 9 pm. So it was only after that when I could check the details in her emails. Look up some things, and check her genealogy in my GRANDMA database (which contains over 1 million Mennonite names!) Sure enough, I found her in it, and when I asked the program if we were related, it showed 5 different relationships for us. So then I took time to write her a long and thorough email answering her questions and explaining the relationships. (Unfortunately, my printer does not do scans right now, so I offered to send her the printed sheets by snail mail.) By the time I was done, it was too late for that batch of thank you letters. (Sigh!)
So far I have not heard back from her. But other interrupts keep coming... I just hung up on an automated survey.
I'm still curious; how do you cope with interruptions? Any helpful methods?
Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One