The Pressing Pause

It’s true:  From the moment that I wake up, my mind is racing with thoughts of what to do for the day, with a burst of ideas.  That’s due partly to habit,   partly maybe it’s my biochemical make-up. I learned over 20  years ago that my best ‘stream of consciousness’ time (my ideation time) is early morning til 10 am.  And I wake up as early as 5-530 am, no alarm clock, as a matter of habit, no matter how late I sleep.  

But the pause is priceless, especially in a world that increasingly values continuous connectivity and no downtime. 24/7, 25/8. Automation pursues continuity.  But though digitized living may be beneficial due to the  anytime-anywhere edict of the new millenium –it could cause so much disruption in human life and relationships.  And the personal cost could be high if not caught in time. 

I just had my Pressing Pause last November 18, 2018 when I decided to undergo a major operation, a full hysterectomy.   It became pressing, because 6 months before that, I was given a chance to medicate it and prevent the growth of my cysts which have hounded me on and off since my teens.  But I didn’t.  I had pain every month for the past several months since last year, and even then, after I medicated with  Dolcet (tramadol + paracetamol), and after a day of intense pain on my first day of my period, that still didn’t make me pause long enough to consider a long term alternative. 

I was complacent. After the diagnostics showed that the biggest cysts were not of critical size, and thinking that I would just have it removed surgically anyway at some point in time, I ignored a further follow-up consultation and completely forgot about it. Until last October 2018, when I had extremely sharp abdominal pain during a meeting. My client rushed me to ER, at my request.  Repeat ultrasound showed that the biggest cyst on each of my ovaries measured almost as big as my uterus?!?  Apart from endometriosis, myomas, adhesion. . . I had it all. 

My husband and I decided that we would have the surgery asap. We rushed the diagnostics and pre-surgery preparations.  And just in time. My OB said my cysts ruptured on the way out.  Had it ruptured before that, it would have been a major and life-threatening emergency. 

My biopsy results further confirmed my earlier ultrasound tests that my cysts were non-malignant. I had no cancer–yet– my OB said.  She wasn’t scaring me, she just said to be careful as I had a family history of breast cancer. My mom is a breast cancer survivor.    But for that other female part of me, it’s done and gone.  Carpè diem, then. 

God caught me in time. I was complacent, not really trusting.  God just provided for everything in the nick of time before my health further deteriorated, or  before anything happened beyond my control.  After that operation, and the night before my operation I cried a bit.  I felt a bit guilty that I tested God’s magnanimity and patience with my flawed humanity. He really saved me, but opened my eyes to my sloth. I am sorry for this, dearest Lord. 

I am ashamed to admit that I might have been caught in my old-school thinking that pausing is unglamorous.  Why pause, when busy-ness is a sign of productivity, abounding opportunities, wealth in the making, physical and mental strength, success as the world recognizes it? 

God made me pause. A real, pressing pause because He knew that I needed it.  Pause for my time with Him. Pause for deeper, quality time with Him to go to the garden of my soul and spend hours refreshing, rejuvenating, revitalizing my soul with His word.  Pause to save my life.  It has become noisy with the din of other voices.

What is the meaning of true wealth? It is something that world cannot give, beyond creature comforts.  You can’t buy true peace of mind.  It’s a grace that comes from answering a loving call of God to dwell with Him from within your soul.  

But also, I need to Pause for the sake of those whom I love.  A pause to allow me too, to focus on others, not just on what’s happening to me, and to see how important and vital our relationship is.  

We think that we could amply nurture relationships thru social media. We couldn’t.   We think we’re pausing when we like, comment, upload on posts or pictures.  We’re not.

Because while we’re doing that, we’re likely doing three or 4 other tasks at the same time.  So true, technology extends the life of relationships and maximizes hours thru virtual multi-tasking.  But it could never take the place of flesh-and-blood relating, a touch, a smile in person.  It can’t take the place of face-to-face time, which requires you setting aside everything else, including your gadgets,  and to be exclusively present for the other.  Because time is so precious, and to spend it travelling to see another, or even spend regular time just dwelling in another’s space is irreplaceable. Memories are made in person, not thru virtual experiences. 

So allow me to make this post, the first in a long time in my blog.  My operation was the longest, pressing pause I’ve ever had in a long while. It was my time with God, just Him and me, on that operating table. 

This is my invitation to have more Pressing Pauses. And it doesn’t have to be during a critical emergency like that.  Pause for God, for loved ones, for friends who are truly dear to us, old and new. And for one’s self. 

I would like to thank my dear friends, Ada and Eric David, for this beautiful devotional in the picture, “Pressing Pause:  100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus” by Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk.  They gave this to me during my birthday.  But it sat for months on my shelf. Sometimes I would carry it, put it on my night table, with the intention to engage in God’s word in it.  But it never happened til a few days ago. Thank you for listening to Jesus in your heart for what gift  to give me for that memorable day. 

 And thank you to my devoted spouse, Gerry.  He has patiently allowed me to go thru my pressing pause, the longest I’ve taken in a long, long while, by spending time with me and for me.  Thru your invaluable gift, you’ve opened another channel of grace for this interlude.  

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