“Just because we are working hard does not mean we are making anything happen.”
― Wayne Muller
This week has been a gift for me. No one really gave me anything, but it is something I did have to receive. Over a week ago Matthew tore a calf muscle. Luckily he didn’t need surgery. I called my grandmother to let her know little guy and I still would be driving to Roswell (8 hours without stops or a four year old) the first part of my spring break. She told me I needed to stay home and take care of Matthew. At first I told her he was fine and we could come and told her we would talk about it again the next day. After our discussion I talked with a few wise individuals who told me to listen to her. I was being given the gift of time and rest and I needed to take it. In the end I realized Matthew didn’t need me to take care of him, but I needed me to take care of me.
As we all know life is crazy and to have every hour filled is a badge of honor in our society. In the past, I have prided myself on taking time and resting. In the last few years with having a little one, a husband with a coaching schedule, increased opportunities at work, and volunteer commitments, it seems my time for rest appears in tiny pockets of a few hours here and there.
Last week I was having a discussion with a friend and we were processing her decision to take a break from work to stay home with her toddler. She reflected on fearing having a gap in her resume. In the moments it was clear we are set up to think of pausing, taking a break as a negative. If we do decide to take a pause and take care of self, we have to justify it and explain it away. Businesses, companies, organizations would rather have someone who has packed their lives to the brim than to have an individual who has taken time to pause and reflect on what they really want in life.
About ten years ago I read a book by Sue Monk Kidd called When the Heart Waits. In the book she reflects on how in our spiritual journey we only think about the highs as times when something is happening, but in reality, it is the pauses, the stillness, the time of waiting when the most happens. I fear we live in a society today that is so rushed, we allow no time for the stillness and we miss the opportunities that can only happen in those moments.
The last few days while little guy has been at school, I have taken pleasure in relaxing. I have enjoyed the mundane tasks of laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping without these things being crammed in the few minutes we have in our lives. Most of all I have enjoyed time to pause and listen to my inner self. I am reconnecting to parts of my being I have missed. I can hear the deep gratitude for my life with the longings to find more moments like today. I question how I can live a life of pauses each day.
While sitting outside and hearing the birds chirp and seeing the budding trees, I see the impact of the pause in our natural life. As the stillness of winter ushers in the beauty of spring, we are reminded of the power of the stillness around us and how much more we appreciate the growth and life because of the pause.