I have an office at Joshua Station that is isolated from everyone else. Some people have expressed their sympathy saying things like, “You must be so lonely.” These people obviously don’t know that I am pretty introverted and love the fact that when I go to work I am away from all of those interruptions that can keep work from getting done. I love the fact that I can “hide” for a few minutes before Kids Club to prepare myself for an hour of chuck e cheese level craziness. I also love the opportunities I get in my office to read, pray, and practice contemplation. It really has become a sacred space for me in recent years.
But sometimes even our sacred spaces get invaded. This time it was a particularly irritating interruption. I was reading my weekly devotion out of Meal From Below when my co-worker came in to inform me that a man was downstairs and that he needed to take a drug test…and I was the only male staff person around.
I was so irritated! I had to leave my time of spiritual formation to do something that felt very “non-spiritual”. In fact, it felt awkward as hell! I hate giving drug tests. There are few things a guy hates to hear more than, “I need to watch you pee.”
The irony of that situation is that I was reading a book put out by friends of mine who feel called to be people of the Incarnation. I realized as I was giving this man I had never met a drug test that I was experiencing what my friends would identify as the genesis of spirituality. Spiritual experience does not start with me reading a spiritual work, or even finding a quiet place to pray. As important as those things are, spirituality begins with the real stuff of life. And the real stuff of life for this man was that he and his family were homeless. They were really hoping to get into Joshua Station to find transformation, and my irritated self reluctantly played an important part in helping make that happen.
I realized that day that moments of Incarnation often feel like they take me out of spirituality, but really they help me come face to face with it. It is my prayer that I will become more and more aware of the gift of interruptions—especially the particularly uncomfortable ones.
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