By Ann Mann
Sometimes we must press the pause button. Sometimes life moves too fast. We find ourselves in a blur, not knowing what day or even what month it is. That is when it is time to press the pause button and catch our breath.
Just to give you one example, I have an Etsy shop (Mann made Art by Ann) where I sell angels painted on barn wood as well as journals. Just last week, I got an order for a barn wood angel, and realized it was my last one. I put my shop on pause until I could harvest more wood and paint more angels.
That made me think about how easily time gets away from us. I have been living in Barnesville since the first of July. And I still have boxes lined up against almost every wall in the house. It would be easy to say, well, “You lost your husband in August, of course you have work left to do.” And that is exactly what I say. But at some point, we must dig in and do what needs to be done.
There will be a little nudge here and there, that helps me take that next step. Just this week, some students from Gordon State College came by Barnesville First United Methodist Church and asked if we would be a collection point for warm coats, hats, and scarves. That reminded me that I have all my husband Kim’s coats just sitting in a closet, and some of my own in boxes. And so, I will donate all his coats, hats, and scarves this week.
Back to the barn wood angels. Crafting has always been like therapy for me. When I am creating, I remember all that God has created and is still creating within me. When I surrender to that spirit of creativity, ideas and art just flow from my mind and hands.
When the order came in on Etsy, someone hit the play button while I was on pause, reminding me that I am still alive. Life goes on, even when the ones we love are no longer here to share it with. I remembered that God has more work to do in and through me.
Hitting the pause button these last few months has given me time to get my bearings. There is power in the pause. The time of withdrawing and reflecting is important work in this grief journey. The pause provides time to grieve losing the life you had dreamed of living.
The pause also provides time to remember and be thankful for the precious years you had together. I am certain I will need to hit the pause button again. But I am praying that those pauses are not so frequent or all consuming. Because it feels good to be fully alive.
I long for the day when God will wipe away every tear, when there will be no more dying, sorrow, or crying. I long for the day when there will be no more pain and all things will be made new (See Revelation 21:1-7.) That is what the season of Advent is about. It is about waiting and watching for the return of the Savior.
As we wait for the Lord’s return, let us not lose hope. Let us encourage one another. Let us live each day as if it is our last. Practice the pause when we need to get our bearings. And then let us live a life that is filled with the joy of the Lord.
(Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org,)