Life is full of seeming interruptions that come along and derail us from our plans. An illness or a surgery with a long recovery can quickly take us off course. An unexpected job loss or the death of a loved one can have the same effect, as can a simple unexpected call or visit.
When these types of surprises occur, it can be easy to get upset about them, thinking, “Oh no! Now I’m not going to finish what I started,” or, “I don’t have time for this.” But maybe they should stir us to do a gut check to assess what’s most important: the people or completing the task at hand?
Those who are people people have less issue switching gears when circumstances like these cross their paths than task-oriented people like me do. But I have learned over the years the importance of prioritizing people over tasks. And I’m thankful for that.
One day not too long ago, my daughter asked me to play a board game with her and her boyfriend. My initial thought was, “No, I want to do what I had planned.” But as I considered her proposal, I realized I was given an option I don’t often have because my daughter is gone a lot when I’m home and home when I’m gone.
My kids have grown up quickly, and now I wish I had taken better advantage of opportunities such as these I had while raising them. I don’t want to wish that about these times too, so I relented and played the game. And you know what? I made a fun connection with my daughter and her boyfriend.
When someone invites you to do something, it’s a privilege. It indicates their value of you and their desire to spend time with you. Do you take advantage of those privileges? Or do you let them pass you by? Even seemingly negative circumstances, such as health issues, can be rewarding with the right mindset.
For example, my husband had ankle surgery, leaving him in a state of dependence for more than two months. During that recovery period, I worked at lovingly serving him. Sure, it was trying at times, but it was also fulfilling. Because when we take our eyes off ourselves to focus on those around us, everybody benefits.
I don’t remember what I had planned that day that I didn’t get to. But I do remember having a fun, special time with my daughter.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"