Learning to Daydream: Rejecting Distraction & Embracing Interruption

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At this point in the technology era, I think we all recognize we are susceptible to distraction. Plagued by it, rather. On an incremental basis. Stop! I confess. Like every 30 minutes!

 Distraction is nothing new under the sun. I think the difference is that it used to happen under the sun. And I think it came in the form of daydreaming or fence-post talking.

Before we carried distraction in our pockets, we had to look beyond ourselves or within ourselves to be distracted. We had to look to other people, leaving us engaged in conversations rather than work. We had to look to our imagination, leaving us with elaborate dreams and ideas.

Before we had devices to tell us what was trending, we had the mental space to decide for ourselves what was worthy of attention.

 What Happened to all the Dreamers?

I can remember sitting in class as a kid, staring out the window and daydreaming. Those dreams didn’t change the world, but they changed me. They gave me vision for my desires and for my life. I worked through conversations and scenarios and navigated arguments and friendships.

I can’t remember the last time I sat and stared out the window. I mostly stare into a screen. And rather than daydreaming, I zone. I don’t stare for the sake of envisioning, I stare for the sake of detaching. I do it to tune out reality for just.one.minute.

And I wonder what it would be like to turn my chair to the right and daydream again?

What Happened to All the Fence Posts?

Here is where distractions can meet interruption in a way that’s purposeful. Call me crazy, but I have envisioned myself a hundred years ago and I wondered what distraction would look like then? Would I be working in a garden and get lost by the wonder of an incoming storm? Would I be cooking dinner and forget as I shooed toddlers out of the chicken pen?

Would I be at the store ordering fabric and supplies and get lost in conversation? Would I be walking through a field and run into a neighbor at a fence post? Would we get lost in conversation?

Conversation that builds connection. Conversation that erases loneliness. Conversation that challenges. 

When distraction serves a purpose, it becomes an interruption. And interruption can be the most beautiful of divine appointments.

A Principle Deeply Rooted

One of my favorite passages in scripture is a passage of interruption. In fact, I think I talk about it all the time. A ruler of the synagogue needed Jesus to follow him home to heal his dying daughter. The crowds pressed in like an original paparazzi. So many people slowed the walking and progress was stunted. {Kind of like road-tripping while potty-training…just had to add that.} I can almost feel the father’s agitation, as he just wants to get home.

In the midst of those crowds there is a woman who’s been dreaming. Dreaming that someday life would be different for her. Dreaming that someday she’d be able to sit on something without making it unclean. Dreaming that someday her bleeding would stop and her female body would become home to another body and she’d become a mother. In the distance, she saw a way for her dream to come true. No one would ever know if she could slip in and slip out and just touch the corner of his robe.

Through the crowd. Touch the robe. Slip back out. No one would know.

But they both knew she’d been healed. And he called her out on it. He wanted her to share her story.

I can feel the father’s anguish as he was forced to stop and wait for someone to come forward and admit they’d touched Jesus. I can feel the father’s doubt as he wondered about Jesus’ sanity. The crowds were pushing in and this teacher wanted to know who touched him? And I can feel the crushing grief and hopelessness when, after the woman finishes her story, he receives news that his daughter died.

If it weren’t for this interruption…would they have made it on time?

Then Jesus asks something remarkable of this father. He wants him to take the woman’s story—her interruption—and have it be the basis for his faith. Faith enough to continue the journey home. Faith enough to enter the bedroom with Jesus. Faith enough to witness the resurrection of his daughter. Faith enough to praise God for what just happened.

 How Can I Discern between a Distraction and an Interruption:

You can argue this. I know it. But here’s my new mantra: A distraction is a thing. An interruption is a person. People always trump things and often, they have something to teach me, show me, a way to inspire me.

It’s so tempting to walk way from an interruption aggravated. Frustrated with time lost or tasks interrupted. But I have a new challenge: I want to be open to interruption. I want to be open to people. I want to find a modern day fencepost and spend some time getting lost in conversation. I want to be challenged to pause.

 

 And for God’s sake, truly—for His sake—I want to get my face out of a screen and learn to daydream again. I’ve muted my imagination for so long and only tap into it for productivity. I wonder what I’ll see as I learn to stare off through a window again. Maybe it will be a neighbor staring back at me. Maybe we can solve the world’s problems together and while doing so, find a friend.

 

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3 thoughts on “Learning to Daydream: Rejecting Distraction & Embracing Interruption

  1. Thanks, Marian!  I allowed the interruption plus forwarded this e-mail to our 4 adult-children, asking them to allow the interruption as-well.  Keep-up the thought-provoking writing!!  Love you, and HAPPY EASTER.

  2. I love this! This is one of my very favorite scriptures too. I’ve never really thought about it from this vantage point though, mostly from the woman’s. Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

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