I’m learning to live in the pauses.
A pause is a stop, a break, an interruption. In our fast-paced world, an interruption is almost heresy. We interrupt someone’s well-planned, chaotic day and it’s like we’re burning something sacred at the stake. Then we receive an almost-holy litany of all the busy things they have to accomplish in this one day and why they cannot possibly spend time talking to us right now. All the while talking about why they can’t pause to talk.
I know these people well. I’ve been one of them most of my adult life. Rushing around. Trying to accomplish things that seem so monumentally important at the time. But in retrospect, not so much.
Retrospect is a funny thing. It’s like the person who suddenly seems so wise and we wonder, “Why didn’t I listen to him? He actually knew what he was talking about.”
Retrospect is discovering that life, real life, happens in the pauses. In those moments when we stop and take a break from the merry-go-round of our busy lives and sit on the grass with those we love. We have no agenda. No list to check off. We simply are present. We listen. We talk. We laugh. We cry. We reflect. We pause.
And in those pauses life, real life, happens. Those moments that never return but are the most precious moments of all. Like sitting with a friend and just being our silly selves, which results in laughing so hard that we fall over on our sides. And because we’re already there, we roll around a little on the grass and laugh even harder.
Or visiting someone in the hospital and somehow knowing that this pause will not come again. So we hold their hand and cherish these moments as we realize that we’re standing on holy ground. So thankful that we paused for this time, sensing that the Lord of all creation is in this room with us and he’s pausing, too.
On this earth, Jesus lived in the pauses. That’s when he ministers to others. He hears that his cousin and his friend, John the Baptist, has been murdered. On his way to be alone and to rest, the people see him and follow him. They know his reputation for healing the sick.
Jesus sees the people wandering around like sheep without a shepherd and he feels compassion for them. So he stops and talks to them, even though he’s exhausted. Even though he’s grieving, he pauses.
As he feeds them through his words, he also feeds them with a small boy’s lunch. Five loaves of bread and two small fish. Five thousand men and also women and children eat until they’re full that day. And 12 baskets of food are left over. All during a pause in Jesus’ life on his way to rest.
The woman caught in the very act of adultery. The religious leaders are happy to catch Jesus in a prickly situation. What will he say? The law is very clear on this matter. She should be stoned to death. Jesus, sitting on the ground doesn’t even look up. He pauses in what he’s doing and says, “You without sin cast the first stone.”
It’s a pause that causes everyone present to pause. Of course, it’s the perfect answer. Everyone is a sinner. None of us is worthy to judge another. That alone is God’s job.
Jesus then tells the woman that her sins are forgiven. He also tells her “To go and sin no more.”
It’s in the pauses that transformation can begin. It’s in the pauses that we see Jesus. He meets us there. He teaches us. He loves us.
Yes, I’m finally learning to live a little bit more in the pauses. What’s a pause? A pause is taking a breath. It’s breathing in love and exhaling life. The kind of life that we are meant to live. The kind of life that Jesus lived here on earth. For me, it’s simply a beginning. Who knows? I may actually learn how to mosey.