We all have buttons in our lives from hot buttons to text phone buttons, but what if we had a “pause” button? The “pause button” to take a minute to think before we rush into a decision. The “pause button” to not rush into what our gut warns us is a red flag.
Several times at the hospital, patients asked me…what do I do when a doctor has recommended a procedure or clinical trial, but it doesn’t seem like the right decision for my child? In response, I’d say ask a lot of questions and pause. Pause so you understand the whole story and can make a clear decision. Pause so you can partner with your medical team and figure out what is the right course of action for your child. Pause so you realize you are listening to the right voices instead of the distractors that getcha in your most fearful, agitated, vulnerable places. Think of Rey meets Hans Solo instead of Rey meets Kaylo Ren. The “pause” button may not be the “easy” button, but you’ll soon find the “pause” button may just be a life-saver.
Take three people I know who recently used the “pause” button. The first person paused when they were told a second round of chemotherapy was no longer an option for their child. Unfortunately, their child’s counts a week post their first round of chemotherapy was not what they had hoped. The next person paused when they found out their husband had a second affair. The third person paused when they lost their job and didn’t know how to pay the bills. What all three of the people said is the “pause” button taught them they are stronger than they ever imagined and not only did they have a God but they had a big God.
For me, pause has become part of my routine. Something which doesn’t come naturally, but takes a lot of practice. I have never been the easy going type, so, dream of what natural pause would be like. My desire to be the plow and not the horse, as you can imagine, is neither healthy or fortuitous. Just ask my husband about me and “pause.”. The best example is the airport incident when we were travelling in a group and the ticket agent accidentally threw away both my ticket and a friend of ours ticket. It took a lot of running, negotiating, and pleading for us to make it on the flight, but I’m sure our onboarding was not a direct result to my immature antics or rants such as “what do you think you’re doing – I want to get on the plane not stand over here” or “are you kidding me – you know we have tickets but we can’t get on the plane – what a ludicrous system this is”. I’m sure the final outcome occurred because my husband paused, took a deep breath, and managed calm through the chaos. Or possibly we made it on the plane because they just wanted to see me gone. Whatever the reason, in retrospect, “pause” was the better solution. For someone in mid-life, I am embarrassed to say there is more pauses then I can count from my marriage, to my career, to being a parent. Why I thought there would be manuals in these areas or that I’d have all of the answers I don’t know, but pause was critical to my marriage not disintegrating, my surviving a few miscarriages, me learning how to deal with a hyperactive and most likely an ADHD child, and learning the ropes in my career. A good example of when pause has served me well was when I was on a project and heard my team talking behind a brick wall that they didn’t think my role was needed any longer or I was the right fit for the team. What would have you done in this scenario? Well, I could have burst out and yelled – hey, I am sitting right here, but instead I paused and thought how I wanted to be viewed. In the long run, it has served me well as I now still work with many of these colleagues. Let me just say, no where in my life have I taken the easy route or even seen the easy button, but know it would be like winning the lottery if I did. So if you have found the easy button, please share.
In the mean time, pause is the tool I use to stand still and to open up my mind to God’s possibilities. As we all know from our teenage years, listening to gossip or becoming frantic are not the best tools in our toolkit. When my life is on auto-drive, I lose important pieces of heaven such as a tax credit coming at the perfect timing or what positive attitude can mean to healing. Pause can take away the anxiety of answering right on the spot. In my experiences, when I am smack dab in the middle of pause (remaining calm, believing in the process, listening to my gut, making informed decisions, etc.) I am given control instead of having control taken away. In other words, I don’t feel like a bumbling idiot or live in fear. At the core of pause, it is really a life tap on the shoulder. Think of pause through these scenarios – let’s pretend there is the opportunity to be part of a clinical trial that is only expected to prolong life by a month or two, but not quality of life – do we want to move forward with the trial? The answer may be different for different people, but if we pause there are better odds at making the right decision. Or perhaps in your household a divorce is brewing, but you’re not ready to give up – then pause may be your golden ticket. If, like me, you want changes in your career, then pause can be an important step. If someone tells you there is no time for pause, then please consider this person’s intentions. Time may be limited, but it should not be obsolete. Through volunteering, I have had many angels teach me the possibilities of pause such as one of the patients, Hope’s family, who said they were surprised to find peace when they least expected it. They said pause let them take day by day instead of crisis by crisis. Wow – what a profound statement! Believe me, pause will not heal or fix all wounds, but it can give us a new perspective. It can teach us what we need to know to not only make a decision, but feel ok with our decision. So the next time you are facing the “hot button”, consider taking a breath and pushing the “pause” button instead. You may be surprised how “pause” is a little gift from heaven.