I was driving home on 22 West one morning after a meeting. In my haste to get to the meeting on time, I had forgotten to grab other things I needed, so I was forced to go home to retrieve them. I was a little harried, having almost been late to one meeting and now unprepared for the rest of the day. To top it all off it was raining and I was headed in the opposite direction of my final destination.
Then I had a slow-motion moment as I watched an enormous tree in the Watchung Reservation crack and fall across the highway. It was that kind of slow-motion moment when you know exactly what you need to do and somehow calmly manage to do it. I slowly signaled a move across the highway to avoid the falling tree and pulled over on the shoulder behind a fellow motorist. The gentleman in the other car jumped out and was pulling at his own hair and almost laughing. I asked if he was okay. His car looked just fine and I wasn’t quite sure why he would get out. He laughed and jumped and danced a little and said “Yes! I’m fine. We almost died just now! We almost died! But we didn’t!”
I agreed with him and told him I hoped the rest of his day was just as lucky. Then I called 911 to let them know about the downed tree and the need for crews to clear away the mess to allow cars to get by. The day no longer seemed inconvenient. The man’s joy at our having survived was contagious!
The story of the hemorrhaging woman interrupts the story of Jairus who accosts Jesus as he disembarks a boat, pleading with Jesus to save the life of his dying daughter. Jairus interrupts Jesus’s travel to his hometown, where he was going to teach in the synagogue. I wonder if Jesus was annoyed at this series of disruptions in his day? He was on his way to something important, and first Jairus, and then this woman, slow everything down.
At the conclusion of the story, not only had the hemorrhaging woman been cured simply by brushing the hem of Jesus’s garment, but Jairus’s daughter has been raised from the dead and “At this, they were overcome with amazement” (Mark 5:42). The contagious joy of living to see another day!
Some days are full of interruptions and inconveniences in our busy and important lives, and these can be frustrating and annoying. But we can never let the importance of our business get in the way of the business of living. Sometimes the interruptions are the important stuff. Jesus was on his way to teach, but his response to the delays in his journey was the lesson.
We have important work to do as individuals, as a community of faith, as a state, and as a nation, and there absolutely will be interruptions on the way to our goals. Some interruptions will be distractions and temptations, but sometimes the interruptions will be the reason for the journey.