Thoughts, Musings and Reflections

In The Pause…

Sometimes life will force an unexpected pause. It happened to me the day I returned from Barcelona and tested positive for Covid. I was forced to pause and do nothing for the first time in years. For some reason, I didn’t run from the pause; I embraced the pause. I didn’t force myself to work through the pause; I allowed my life to come to a halt, giving me time to think, see, and understand. I could see my life in 360 degrees, and I had time to see people not as I wanted them to be but as they were. Even more importantly, I could see things about myself that I had willfully overlooked because examining yourself is never pleasant. The pause doesn’t always feel good because it forces you to look at yourself; it makes you reexamine how you look at people you call family, lovers, and friends. In the stillness, you can see because your insight is not clouded by the stuff that distracts us. The pause allows you to gain perspective.

We had that chance in Kentucky to embrace the pause when the world stopped in 2020 when the coronavirus started spreading in the United States. However, we failed to embrace the pause. We ran away from the pause. We were like toddlers that were having a tantrum because we were being told to go take a nap, not understanding the rest would be good for us. We didn’t go inwardly yet; instead, we lashed out outwardly. We created an “us versus them” atmosphere even as our friends and loved ones died. We complained about being unable to gather with friends or get a haircut. We hung our Governor in effigy at the State Capitol. We made the pause political, refusing to see how beneficial it would have been to pause and try to understand what life was trying to show us at the moment.

When you don’t get a lesson, it will continue to present itself. Life continues to present the lesson to Kentucky.

In 2020 we faced a time of racial reckoning after the murder of Breonna Taylor. Across this state, people were screaming for justice; however, we didn’t pause to try to understand what was happening in this state. We didn’t break bread together. Once again, it was “us versus them,” so life handed us the lesson again. In December 2021, a tornado ripped through Mayfield, Kentucky, upending lives. And we had a chance to pause and be #Team Kentucky. Once again, we missed the moment to pause. We made a tornado political. Yesterday life handed Kentucky the lesson again as five people, Tommy Elliott, 63, Jim Tutt, 64, Josh Barrick, 40, Juliana Farmer, 57, and Deana Eckert, 57, were murdered in a downtown bank by Connor Sturgeon. The mass shooting took place around 8:30 in the morning, when many people were heading into or at work, having a cup of coffee while checking emails, running early morning errands, etc. And for many people, they had to go on as if chaos, devastation, and heartache were not happening in the city. But I believe this is once again another opportunity for this state to pause. What should we learn now, or will we do the same thing we have always done? When will we just pause?

One thing I learned when life forced me to pause is that the stuff is still there. The world didn’t come to an end because I wasn’t at a meeting or didn’t answer an email. Everything that I believed was so important wasn’t. In fact, everything could wait. It is okay to say, “I need a minute. I must pause and reflect on what this moment is teaching me.”

What you need to understand is that there is healing in the pause. There is growth, forgiveness, and redemption in the pause. There is joy in the pause. There is reconciliation and love in the pause. There is opportunity in the pause. There is understanding in the pause. There is learning in the pause. There is wisdom in the pause. There is purpose in the pause if we take a moment to see it. The time you take to just pause is not in vain. It is not selfish. It is not dramatic. It is needed.

We are missing so much when we don’t take a moment to pause and sit in the stillness. Sit in that space where the dew is still on the roses, where the darkness and dawn gently collide, and listen to the whispers as you ask life, “What are you trying to show me? What are you forcing me to see?” Life is whispering all around you, urging you to pause and come sit for a moment. Do not run from the pause; embrace the pause. Life is much more than phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings. As we saw yesterday, life is but a vapor. A wisp of air before it dissipates. And we don’t even take enough time to pause and realize that a candle has lost its flame because we must move on to the next thing that doesn’t even matter.

2 replies »

  1. Ms. Drake, I hope you don’t mind. I shared this in my Facebook feed. I’ve included what I wrote to my family and friends. “I was first introduced to Hannah Drake by the Southern Foodways Alliance in a piece titled, “Stories From the Hem of My Mother’s Apron”. Since that time we have only conversed, rarely, via social media. I have read and responded to several of her works because they create such an emotional reaction in me. Some of her works have angered me or made me uncomfortable to read but we need that sometimes. I have always thanked her for her words. I hope you will read the following words she shared today and listen to them. So often we miss the lesson because we are too concerned about what we will have to give up instead of focusing on what we will gain. I promise you will only be the better for it. As always, thank you, Ms. Hannah.”

  2. The complete “Word to the Wise.” And my soul continually whispers about this, when the unexpected pause occurs. I’m definitely conditioned to keep moving, but getting better about having an obvious seat for a time… in age.

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