It doesn’t matter how the day is going, or what has been accomplished, something is bound to go wrong. One of my favorite exclamations when this happens to me is ‘There is always something!’
We’ve all been there. We plan an event, or a trip, or even just a simple, quiet afternoon at home. We settle in and begin whatever it is we have chosen to do. Then there comes a phone call, or a knock on the door, or a text. Something that needs addressed, that must be seen to, that requires some action. It’s not always important. It’s not always time-consuming. But it is enough, yes, I said enough, to ruin the time we have planned. It is something, and it is always.
Let me give an example. I love movies. Especially the older black and whites. Recently, I planned my time carefully so that I could watch a particular movie, one I had not seen for many years, and that I have not been able to find a copy of to buy. It was being broadcast on TV. I cleared my afternoon. I had my errands already completed. My house was neat and clean. My pets had been fed and taken outside. I had the house to myself. I had my drink and snacks on the table beside my recliner. I was ready!
About 15 minutes into the movie, the call came. It was not an important one. It was not a dire situation, or something that had any urgency. It was a casual call from a friend, but it was a friend I had actually told about my movie afternoon. You know, the movie I was trying to watch at that particular time! As soon as I had determined that the call was not an urgent one, I gently reminded my friend that I had just begun watching my movie. The one I had told her about. The one she knew was not available on demand. The one that was currently in progress. The one I was MISSING!
Didn’t make a dent. No comprehension, not a thought, not an idea even. She did not pick up that the timing was wrong. Mind you, I had been talking about this movie since I found out it would be on. To her. Specifically. Deliberately. But she didn’t care, she just had to keep babbling on about inconsequential things. I was seething by this time, because my movie was going on without me.
And then, it started. The feelings of guilt, of selfishness, of not being a good friend. I remembered all the times she had been there for me, when I lost my dog to disease, when a relative went through a great trial, when I was sick…it goes on and on. I asked myself what was more important…time spent talking to my dear friend, or an old movie that had no eternal significance? I clicked off the TV and spent another hour talking, chatting, enjoying my friend.
Does this mean my movie was worthless? No, of course not. But when put up against a human need, it paled in comparison. I may be fortunate enough to find it once again. I am pretty sure I will. Time alone with ourselves, for a break, for peace, for time with God, is important too. But again, my friend is more important than any old movie.
‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.’ Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)