Back in my single days, I was a banker. I did loan paperwork and was a teller. I loved counting money, filling out forms, adding things up and organizing. I especially loved talking to people and helping them to take care of themselves and their finances. Being a teller was right up my alley!
Many times I would get all of my loan paperwork spread out and begin to fill in the squares and lines on the forms, happy as a clam. (How happy is a clam?) Just as I would start to get a handle on all of the paperwork, a customer would walk in and I would have to push it all to the side to wait on them.
There were the local business owners I would see every day- Sammy who would bring in the intoxicating smell of his hot dog stand and sometimes a small treat, Jim with his deposits from the repair shop and usually a joke or kind word, and the ladies from the dress shop who would tell you that you looked “marvelous”.
There were the little old men who wanted to talk. You just knew that you were the only person they had talked to all day, so you gave them a little extra time. There was the one time an older lady came to my window and laid her checkbook in front of me. With tears in her eyes she told me her husband had died and she did not know how much money was in the account or how to write a check.
I learned from that job to be precise and careful since you could lose your position if you were out of balance too often. I learned to be flexible and fun on the outside while remembering the strict rules and regulations on the inside. I learned to be compassionate and patient, especially with older people. And I learned to never let myself be in a position where I did not know how much money was in my account or how to take care of business for myself.
Something that was said in church yesterday reminded me of one of the best lessons I learned while working at the bank. During Holy Week we have noonday speakers. Yesterday during that time, the speaker said many things I wrote down, some I agreed with and others not as much. The one thing that struck me was when he spoke about parents disrupting their lives for their kids.
Don’t get me wrong, children definitely change your life as you can imagine and in ways you could never expect. But I am not sure that I would use the word disruption.
At the bank I had people walk up to my window right as I got going on my paperwork. Lots of my coworkers considered that a disruption. I then had a boss tell us that the customers were not a disruption, they were the reason we were there. They paid our salary, they needed our help, we were there for them.
A pet peeve of mine is when a business says it is open until a certain time, but 10 minutes before that time the employees are balanced out, holding their jackets and keys, ready to lock up and bolt out the moment it hits the appointed time. Woe be to the customer who breaks their neck to get there at the last second only to be scorned for making the staff put down their purse and wait on this latecomer.
I learned that you should be there, as ready to be of service the last ten minutes (and longer if necessary) as you were the first ten minutes of the day. I learned that life is full of all different opportunities and it isn’t a disruption to do what you can for the people who trust you to be there.
I never thought of my child as a disruption. He was a new member of our family. He added so many things to our lives and took away almost none. We didn’t use him as an excuse not to continue going and experiencing life, he just added to how we saw things while we continued our trek through this life. I met almost all of my friends because of my son. Many of the great adventures we have taken were because of wanting to experience even more once we had this being to show the world to. He wasn’t a disruption, he was a catalyst.
I guess anything can be a disruption if you let it be. A text coming in as I try to blog can be a message from someone I love or a disruption to what I am trying to do. A knock on the door while I cook can be the delivery of a play I have been excited to read or a disruption. Seeing a friend on the sidewalk as I hurry to church can be a welcome treat or a disruption to my plan to get there on time. Having a customer who needs to hear a human voice in the midst of their loneliness can be an honor or a disruption.
Life is constantly full of surprises, unexpected detours and new experiences. You can savor the moments or get angry for the constant interruptions. You can do your best to be fun, flexible and spontaneous on the outside while trying to stay somewhat on schedule on the inside. You can realize that often we have our priorities messed up and the disruption is really the most important thing we will do all day.
The “disruptions” might be the best parts of your whole life.