Take Time to Pause and Appreciate
I have been going through boxes of old files. A tedious job as one of my friends said. A job which, it turns out, has an important life lesson for me. I keep finding interesting papers, some of which I only half read, and some of which I never read and kept because they seemed important enough to be read…some day. I also find the names of people I have met, places I have been, and conferences I have lead or helped lead as part of a team. Conferences I have attended. Places I have preached. And I realize, I was so busy running from one thing to another with my packed schedule and my family responsibilities that I never really stopped to appreciate what I was doing. Or catch up with myself.
If I were to have a message for my younger self, it would b, pause and take life in. I am not sure if I would give anything I was doing up in order to pause. That’s the problem. What I could have done was make pausing a priority. I’m lucky that I can finally catch up in retirement.
My father, who ran between teaching at Drexel and practicing law was always on the move too. Drexel was at 32nd Street in Philadelphia and his law office was on 12 th Street. We lived first in West Philadelphia and then in the suburb of Wynnewood. In the summer he travelled to Ocean City, New Herse, from Philadelphia twice a week. Moving, always moving. And yet, somehow, he seemed very present to me. Was he ever really present to himself for reflecting and pausing.
It always seemed to me that he was doing all that he was doing very well. But he never wrote any of it down. Never wrote the book he wanted to write. Did he ever pause?
Seems as if being busy was in our natures. We loved all that we were doing. The trouble is, we missed some of it by not pausing to take it all in, or writing it all down. Not that anyone would read it anyway. But that is not the point. Writing for me is a way of clearing my head and figuring out what I think and what matters most.
The people I was blessed to encounter were very important to me. If I met them and too quickly moved on to the next thing, like a politician does. I apologize. I could have savored knowing you more. At least now that I am cleaning out my files and you pop up on paper and I remember you, and I am grateful. More grateful than I will ever be able to let you know.
And I am impressed by all the things we accomplished together and the passion with which we pursued our faith and feminism. And I think about my sons. What did they make of all that I was doing? Did they know I was there for them as I knew my father was there for me?
Life does not need to be a blur. It is meant to be savored. I know there is much more to do to save the world than any of us have time for. There are at home needs to be met and money to be made. Still, pausing might enhance all of our enterprises and enrich our lives and relationships.
Pause and appreciate.