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Time to Interrupt the Norm


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By Tracy Simmons

Good manners were important in my childhood home. Chew with your mouth closed. Say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am.” Always say please and thank you, and never, ever interrupt.

Interrupting is rude. I get embarrassed when I catch myself doing it, and definitely notice when someone does it to me.

I listened to a sermon recently, though, where the pastor reminded us that interruption can sometimes be a good thing.

Isaiah 40:18-19 reads, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

Here, God is about to disrupt the norm.

I’m keeping this in mind as we enter into a new year.

I like routine and structure. I like knowing what shirt I’m going to wear tomorrow, what story I’m going to post to favs.news in the morning and I like knowing the exact amount on my upcoming paycheck.

I guess I like predictability.

But I know change is coming in 2019.

And that can be a good thing, because ultimately, isn’t change the end result? Change is progress, even if it’s troublesome.

In the coming months, my life is likely to be interrupted. Some things I can predict and others I can’t even conceptualize.

The Rev. Scott Kinder-Pyle of Origin Church explained in his sermon (mentioned earlier) that interruption can be poetry. God doesn’t interrupt our lives to be annoying, or because God is conceited thinking his words are more important than ours. Instead, Kinder-Pyle said, God interrupts because something else – something better, different, new – is coming.

I hope that’s true and that the upcoming changes in my life will lead to something greater. And I hope that collectively, as a society, our lives will also be interrupted.

The New York Post reported in an article titled, “Americans Are More Depressed Than Ever” that 1 in 5 Americans said they had, at some point, been diagnosed as being depressed in 2017 (Study released in 2018). Those surveyed said they struggled in the following “well-being elements:”

  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Purpose
  • Social

The authors of the report, which was conducted by Gallup, said the political climate was an indisputable factor.

See, we need an interference.

The increasing hostility we have toward those with differing values can’t become the norm.

Google “increasing hostility 2018” and articles pop up about increased malice toward the media, the LGBT community, immigrants, religion and the U.S., to name a few. We can’t become a churlish, unsympathetic people.

We need – and need to become – something different, better, new. We need unity. As the Hindus so beautifully say, we need to find a way to bow to the divine in one another.

But it’s not just politics that has people down. The effects of global warming are becoming more overwhelming and the stock market continues a roller-coaster trend.

I wonder what this much-needed interruption will look like in the coming year. Will our government leaders start hearing their constituents? Will a faith leader emerge who will bring us back together? Will positive headlines start outnumbering the bad, giving us a boost of optimism?

Interrupting isn’t nice, but necessary. I can’t wait for something positive to break the continuity of what has become.

My prayer, my hope, is that the year 2019 will be a time of beautiful transformation.

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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