A gift in pausing
It happens nearly every morning. After quite an effort, we are all ready to go and I open the back door for our three-year-old daughter. I hold the door open with my left arm, heavily laden with my work bag and a diaper bag filled with bottles, extra clothes, and whatever stuffed animal friends are needed for the day. My right arm holds our three-month-old strapped into a car seat that weighs at least twice as much as the child it protects.
And then it happens. Without fail, my daughter stops right there in the middle of the doorway and doesn’t move. I’m not sure if she’s taking in the view of the backyard or adjusting to the change in temperature or just wants to make sure we’re all together, but she never misses the chance to pause awhile on our threshold.
I have to admit I’m not very patient in those moments. We’re often running late. I am losing feeling in my fingers. So I say to her, “keep moving, Susannah. Keep moving.” Eventually our beloved little slowpoke is hopping down the sidewalk to our detached garage, impatient for me to catch up with her.
As frustrating as this is for me most mornings, my daughter is modeling something important for all of us. There’s something about stopping awhile when we cross those big thresholds in our lives. It’s why we take first day of school pictures or share some cake at birthdays or retirements or weddings. It’s why we gather to pray and tell stories when someone we love dies or make time for a cup of coffee with a friend in the midst of packing boxes.
Life’s changes move us from one reality to another. They may be heartbreaking or joyful – or a little of both. It might be anticipated or a total surprise. But we can’t avoid life’s shifts. We can’t go back. Life nudges us along saying, “keep moving.”
But we often need to stop awhile right in the middle of it. There’s a gift in pausing to notice what’s behind as we adjust to the new reality in front of us. It’s a moment for blessing and meaning-making. As we pause in the doorways of our transitions, we can look back and remember the ways God has been with us and look forward knowing God’s goodness continues. This pause may be just the thing to help us step forward with courage and hope, ready to keep moving.