The importance of pausing

The mysticism of everyday life

is the deepest mysticism of all. - Jurgen Moltmann

The author Macrina Wiederkehr in Seven Sacred Pauses suggests that there are times when ordinary experiences that have been part of our lives day after day suddenly speak to us with such a radiant force it seems as though they are miracles. She shared that in his spiritual autobiography The Golden String, Bede Griffiths describes an evening walk when he was taken by surprise in a way that had never happened to him before. This experience significantly changed his life, drawing him into a more mindful way of living. As he walked alone at dusk, the birds were singing in full chorus, the Hawthorne trees were bursting with bloom, the fading sun was casting color across the fields. As everything grew still and the veil of darkness began to cover the earth, he paints a picture of his feelings with these words: I remember now the feeling of awe which came over me. I felt inclined to kneel on the ground, as though I had been standing in the presence of an angel; and I hardly dared look on the face of the sky, because it seemed as though it was but a veil before the face of God.

Friends, the practice of pausing in the midst of our everyday lives can help us see the holiness of things that remain hidden in our hecticness.

That pause may be as simple as standing attentively before a flowering plant or listening carefully to the frogs in the pond. I find spending time with a toddler, which I do a couple of times a week, makes this easier to do somehow. Perhaps we can pause for a cleansing breath. That pause may be an awakening stretch or a moment or two of silence, remembering who and whose you are. The art of pausing can lend to our desire to learn how to make a life rather than just a living, as Wierderkehr says.

May our sacred pauses be life-giving today.