People Are Not Distractions

by Glorious Failure

I was at work yesterday when my brother called. I was busily trying to finish before day end, and it was late afternoon. However, my brother never calls. I pick up. He says he wants to visit – drop by my office. Acknowledging I was at work and therefore likely busy, he would have been satisfied to visit even if only for ten minutes. I happily oblige and he sets course for my place of work.

I flit about my tasks the next few minutes excitedly looking forward to this most welcome of surprises. When my brother arrived I discerned why he called. He had purchased a new car only hours before, and wanted to share it. I am glad he did, for nice it was, indeed. It was shiny – like new cars should be – and had every bell and whistle imaginable. I was stoked for his happy purchase.

Having heard the story of his automotive enterprises, extracted the details of the bargaining dance, and thoroughly shared in his rejoicing, I savored a lingering moment between my brother and I – one that arises all too infrequently. My mind began to wander back to my workday tasks yet complete. The Sun had fallen and evening beset us. My gut sank for thought of all the work ahead and a late night at the office.

My brother asked me a question. “Would you like to grab a bite to eat?” My mind darted between the possibilities. Stay or go? I was hungry. It had been a long day. And my instinct said, “Go.” Carpe Diem – as they say. However, my responsible side piped up. “You have work to do – more in fact, than you can finish tonight even if you remain.” I weighed my options. My mind raced. Stay or go?

Which do you think I chose?

Last night I was feeling romantic. Yes. I accepted his offer, threw caution to the wind – well responsibility perhaps – and abandoned my post for fraternal flights of frivolity. Dinner was good and the company better. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Within the course of two hours I returned to my post and parted ways with my brother. Now well into the evening, I turned to my task at hand and did the best I could fighting fatigue at every step. My mood however, was markedly improved, and before long I retired for the day heading home.

I lie in bed reflecting on my day. “Should I have gone out for dinner with my brother?” I questioned. “Should I have stayed and gotten more done?” My mind would not find rest. Then what came next could only have been revealed by the Spirit: People are not distractions.

Subsequently, other thoughts began to follow in a rush. People don’t get in the way of life, they are life. I remembered that Jesus didn’t just hang out with homeless people. He talked with the diseased and outcast. Jesus didn’t demonstrate his egalitarianism by condescending those who were socially awkward, he shared meals with tax collectors – downright scoundrels. And in the short time frame in which Christ walked the Earth, I’m sure most days it wasn’t exactly on the agenda to fraternize with the help. Rather, He loved people and instructed them as He went along.

Reflecting in bed, I felt a smile well up from inside. I had made the right decision. I seized an opportunity to love my brother and share life. How often does that happen? How often does my brother offer to come visit me at my work? And honestly, my work was still there this morning. No really. It didn’t go anywhere.

I think I rediscovered something yesterday I hadn’t seen in quite a while. A phone call out of the blue, an unexpected drive-by, a lingering moment savored – these distractions from life – well maybe sometimes. . .they are life.

“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.” – Charles Dickens