Awhile back, I received a “tweet” from Rick Warren (author of Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church) that said:
“Study the STOPS of Jesus, not just his step -the interruptions he allowed. Every healing was an interruption! R U flexible?”
Those one-hundred and forty (or less) characters prompted me to think again about a phrase in scripture that I love: “along the way.” The Gospels are full of occasions in which Jesus and his followers stop “on their way” to their “intended goal” to do important life-affirming things. We see an incredible example of this in Mark 5 where “on the way” to heal a dying girl. Jesus first heals the Geresene demoniac (of “we are Legion for we are many” fame), and then he also heals a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. In fact, by the time he gets to his “destination,” the ill girl has died. Undaunted, Jesus resurrects her. This story reminds us in a profound way that the ‘bus-stops’ and fellow sojourners that we meet along the way of life are as important as the destination. Through them, we learn the importance of being flexible enough to give these encounters the full attention they deserve. Finally, we see that everything always tends to pan out in the end, even if at first blush it appears that we have arrived “too late” to our destination.
Knowing that, I make a special effort to be attuned to the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, and am ever looking for “divine appointments.” Divine appointments are situations that are inspired and intentionally placed in front of us by the hand of God in order to bless our life for the purpose of us, in turn, finding a way to bless others with what we have gained or gleaned from the interaction. They are never planned, but happen “on the way.”
On Thursday, June 10th, I had the delight of experiencing one of these said “divine appointments.”
It was an ordinary work day at the Compassionate Care Hospice Inpatient Unit where I work as a registered nurse, and I was preparing to administer some medication when a woman approached our front desk and began talking to our unit secretary. The medication area’s proximity to the unit secretary’s desk made it easy for me to “eavesdrop” (and I felt no shame in openly doing so, since my responsibility as charge nurse is to know what is going on at all times on the unit.) The young woman identified herself as one of our hospice volunteers and stated that she had received permission to take pictures of our new unit and staff for her blog.
Setting aside what I was doing for a minute (I was dissolving a medication in water, and the pill needed to sit a bit longer in the solution to liquefy completely, anyway…) I chimed into the discussion and we exchanged blog names (has anyone else noticed this practice is becoming increasingly more a form of social etiquette?). She identified herself as Rachel Simon, an author- and we then proceeded to go around the unit taking some pictures of the unit and staff members for her blog.
I am so glad I took the opportunity (and had the flexibility in my work load that particular day) to take a little bit of time and enjoy this Divine Interruption. Although I had not planned on meeting a new person and having an extraordinarily interesting conversation, it was my great pleasure to share a few very powerful moments conversing with this bright, articulate woman.
Rachel is the author of several books, one of which (Riding the Bus with My Sister- a memoir of a year Rachel spent with her developmentally challenged sister riding public transportation) has been made into a Hallmark™ movie starring Rosie O’Donnell as her sister and Andie MacDowell as Rachel.
Our conversation flowed easily, and I had an immediate sense of kindred-spiritedness. In our brief (15 min max) conversation, Rachel and I talked about how humans “pastor” one another (whether or not we are ordained by a faith community to do so), and about the positive impact and richness that dis-ability and illness can add to our lives when they are embraced rather than eschewed. I had to get back to my duties, so we were only able to enjoy a short-lived, but profoundly rewarding (and I might add, tantalizing) interaction.
It is always healing balm to my soul to encounter another individual who thinks deeply and can articulate those thoughts fluidly. For me, it is like a sip from a good glass of wine, or a few stanzas of a beautiful piece of music- and it usually leaves me wanting for more.
I want to hear more of Rachel’s thoughts and so, I have purchased Rachel’s book and am awaiting its arrival from Amazon.
It will be my “fun” summer reading and I will share my thoughts about it here with you.
Look for more on the book later this summer…