Read

How Welcoming Interruption Can Impact Your Life

Published:
May 21, 2024
November 17, 2019
St.-Martin-of-Tours|St.-Martin-of-Tours-Square

It’s a cold day, and he rides his horse with his heavy woolen cloak pulled tightly around his shoulders to shield him from the chilling wind. He squints ahead and sees another figure — a beggar, shivering in the weather.

He stops his horse. He draws his sword, cuts his cloak in two, wraps half of it around the man, and continues on his way.

So goes the most famous legend about St. Martin of Tours, a fourth-century Roman soldier and convert to Christianity who would go on to become a monk and bishop.

I love this story for its immediacy — there is a need, Martin sees it, and he responds. That’s it. He just does it, without question or any worry of being taken advantage of.

We don’t really know whether words were exchanged, and in a way it doesn’t matter. Martin’s recognition of this person’s shared humanity was so deep and so real that his actions communicated everything that needed to be shared:

You are seen. You are loved. You matter. Your needs are mine, too.

The night after he shares with the person in need, Martin sees Christ in a dream, wearing the split cloak. Because he acts, Martin receives a dramatic confirmation of God’s preference for those who are suffering.

Meeting the beggar in the road was not something Martin planned — not something he could have planned — but it is for this encounter that he is remembered through the ages. His generosity made the encounter more than just a passing exchange — Martin seized the opportunity to love, which allowed him to meet God when he met the vulnerable beggar.

This kind of spontaneity is hard for me. I am a planner. I relish color-coded schedules, prioritized to-do lists, meal plans, and budgets. I don’t travel without a detailed, well-researched itinerary, and my wedding binder was honestly a masterpiece of organizational achievement.

I usually feel that I can do the most good this way. Organizing seems to make the best use of my time, maximize my efficiency, and help me make the most impact on the world. But Martin’s story invites me to think about things differently.

It would have been easy for Martin to see this person as a nuisance. It would have been easy to pretend not to see, to bury his face in his cloak. He could have used the pretense of hiding from the wind to hide from the bother of really seeing the person right in front of him.

Martin had plans, too. We’re not sure where he was coming from or where he was going, but he wasn’t out in the cold for no reason. He was on his way somewhere to do something else when he met this beggar. In sharing his cloak, Martin withstood the frost longer than he needed to so that he could care for someone else’s need.

Martin’s story makes me wonder what interruptions I’m overlooking in my life. I know full well my own temptation to perceive interruptions as inconvenient; it’s the shadowy side of my gift for organization. But Martin reminds me that those very moments might be unique opportunities to love — and encounter something of God’s love.

Where might I respond to interruptions with a little more love?

The saints are one of the greatest gifts the Church gives us. They pray for us and they serve as inspirations and guides for how to live a good life. They also comfort us, reassuring us that we’re not alone in our struggles. But sometimes, their example confronts us and makes us uncomfortable. And maybe that’s exactly the nudge we need to respond to something greater than we had planned for or imagined.

Creators:
Jessica Mannen Kimmet
Published:
May 21, 2024
November 17, 2019
On a related note...
Write Your Own Valentine’s Day Love Poem in 8 Easy Steps

Write Your Own Valentine’s Day Love Poem in 8 Easy Steps

Grotto

Beyond Mentorship: Why Having a Hero Will Change Your Mindset

Beyond Mentorship: Why Having a Hero Will Change Your Mindset

Emily Mae Mentock

Shelter For Pregnant Women Changes Perspective of Volunteer | Little Ways: Care

Shelter For Pregnant Women Changes Perspective of Volunteer | Little Ways: Care

Grotto

Free Download: 30-Day Random Acts of Kindness Calendar

Free Download: 30-Day Random Acts of Kindness Calendar

Grotto

Praying in a Deer Stand

Praying in a Deer Stand

Grotto Shares

Giving Hope and a Future to Women with HIV/AIDS

Giving Hope and a Future to Women with HIV/AIDS

Grotto

Holy Week Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Holy Week Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

Visitation Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Visitation Spotify Playlist | #GrottoMusic

Grotto

How to Take Charge of Your Life

How to Take Charge of Your Life

Khang Tran

Running the Chicago Marathon Turned My Life Around

Running the Chicago Marathon Turned My Life Around

Molly Bealin

The Reward of Patience in Nature Photography

The Reward of Patience in Nature Photography

Grotto, Kevin DeCloedt

Creating an Outfit Formula May Solve Your Style Rut

Creating an Outfit Formula May Solve Your Style Rut

Lillian Fallon

5 Lifestyle Instas that Will Inspire (Not Depress) You

5 Lifestyle Instas that Will Inspire (Not Depress) You

Gabriella Patti

Born to Work: Bruce Springsteen’s Legacy of Commitment

Born to Work: Bruce Springsteen’s Legacy of Commitment

Marty Moran

How Do You Go on a Date?

How Do You Go on a Date?

Grotto

The Outgoing Introvert's Survival Guide

The Outgoing Introvert's Survival Guide

Grotto

Bringing Hope and Support to Families in Crisis

Bringing Hope and Support to Families in Crisis

Grotto

Ice Cream Brothers: A Grotto Short Film

Ice Cream Brothers: A Grotto Short Film

Grotto

Grotto’s Travel Guide to Yellowstone National Park

Grotto’s Travel Guide to Yellowstone National Park

Andrew Mentock

5 French Clothing Staples for a Très Chic Look

5 French Clothing Staples for a Très Chic Look

Lauren Lawson

newsletter

We’d love to be pals.

Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll meet you in your inbox each week.