a pause button

March 5, 2016

Dear God-
If you please, could I trouble you with a small request? A simple thing, really: just a little “pause” button …

No big deal, right? Wouldn’t it be the perfect solution to this problem, seeing as the issue is not so much with what I have in my life; rather, this issue is with what I don’t have: time! Life is zipping along at a pace that makes me long to shoot my hand up in the air like I do in the middle of a rowdy class. Only this time, instead of my customary “Silence!” (Reader, please imagine the accompanying French accent and the sternly raised eyebrow), the call would instead be “Wait!” Please, I need a moment. I need to think about what just happened. I need to process, and to somehow document for myself, and for anyone else who may care, what just happened. Don’t you see, world, what a beautiful moment this was? Don’t you get it?

Yesterday our whole school came together to pull off an extravaganza of cultures—a bright rainbow of international displays, performances, and recognitions. England, India, China, Ghana, France, the Philippines, Japan, Ethiopia, Togo . . . we were the world. And those of us responsible for the children dashed about from 7:00am until 3:00, in a whirl of activity that had at least a few of us in a bit of a survival mode. And then, at the end of it all, I sat down for a moment to watch the ending performances. I was tempted to pull out my computer and sneak in a few moments of work towards a deadline I was quite sure I wouldn’t make. But suddenly, I was wowed by the beauty of what was in front of me: a stage full of students drumming and dancing as if the world was their stage. And for these few moments, it was . . . “Wait!”

Last night at the dinner table she paused in the middle of a bit and looked up at us: “How do you know you are saved?” Truth be told, we almost pushed the question away, tabling it for another day. We were, quite frankly, exhausted from the day and selfishly wanting to continue our efforts to trouble-shoot a practical issue we had come across, concerning our international life logistics. But instead, I took a deep breath and explained a few of my thoughts about the subject. It didn’t really take long at all, and it occurred to me that this question is one that I quite enjoy thinking about, after the process it was for me. We came so close to missing the moment . . . “Wait!”

My friend: my beautifully vibrant fellow singer–the one who welcomed me to this country with such wide arms–is leaving me now. This is my last Saturday to practice with her. Tomorrow my last Sunday to worship with her. She loops her arm in mine and we walk to the bathroom together, enjoying the mutual excitement over small luxuries like shea butter and papaya soap . . . “Wait!”

So yeah, God—a “pause” button would be perfect. Just perfect! What’s that? Oh . . . Are you sure? Well, ok—yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe it would be just a teeny bit unfair if I had such an exclusive right. *Sigh* . . .

Maybe I could work on that tendency to insist on my idea of what should be happening, and on what I should be accomplishing on any given day. Maybe there’s something to that “birds of the air” bit (Matthew 6:26). Perhaps I do spend a fair bit of time in that “worrying” mode. Perhaps I should instead direct that mental energy into some “pause” work of my own. Quite possibly, this magic “pause” button could mean letting go of all the to-dos rolling around in there and, instead, being present in the moment as it is. And maybe—just maybe—if I am brave enough to be present here and now: if I can watch this youngster lost in her drumming and just get lost right with her, I won’t need that “pause” button after all . . .