Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less

Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less

by Terry Hershey
     
 

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What if . . .

   What if life isn’t about finishing on top,
   but knowing when to stop?

   What if life isn’t about learning to live with stress,
   but learning to live with less?

   What if life isn’t about pushing yourself to the limit,
   but embracing every minute?

See more details below

Overview

What if . . .

   What if life isn’t about finishing on top,
   but knowing when to stop?

   What if life isn’t about learning to live with stress,
   but learning to live with less?

   What if life isn’t about pushing yourself to the limit,
   but embracing every minute?

   What if life isn’t about constant action,
   but eliminating distraction?

   What if life isn’t about what you chase,
   but resting in God’s grace?

The Power of Pause will forever change the way you think about and live your life. When you develop the capacity to do less, you’ll find that you can become so much more—more present to those you love and to your own life, more in awe of the daily joys and wonders of this world, more focused on the little things, which are really the big things.

If you’re ready to be totally surprised by the gift of stillness, then it’s time to experience the power of pause—for the “rest” of your life!

 

What if . . .

   What if life isn’t about finishing on top,
   but knowing when to stop?

   What if life isn’t about learning to live with stress,
   but learning to live with less?

   What if life isn’t about pushing yourself to the limit,
   but embracing every minute?

   What if life isn’t about constant action,
   but eliminating distraction?

   What if life isn’t about what you chase,
   but resting in God’s grace?

The Power of Pause will forever change the way you think about and live your life. When you develop the capacity to do less, you’ll find that you can become so much more—more present to those you love and to your own life, more in awe of the daily joys and wonders of this world, more focused on the little things, which are really the big things.

If you’re ready to be totally surprised by the gift of stillness, then it’s time to experience the power of pause—for the “rest” of your life!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Retreat leader and speaker Hershey offers his growing fan base of faithful Christ followers a smart, sensible and so practical primer on the power of pausing. Hershey (Soul Gardening) presents 52 nifty ways to hit the pause button no matter what the season of life. In an eight-part text in which sections are defined by the four seasons, each with an early and late aspect—readers will find themselves removed from the tyranny of the urgent and moved to a peaceful, reflective and deliberatively inactive place of reflection. Hershey, funny and honest about his own foibles, will have thoughtful readers resonating with his human struggles while gratefully accepting his kindly offered yet stern cautions on the dangers of the busy life. Well-written and issuing continual invitations to pay attention, live in a centered way and say yes to the moment, Hershey shows people how to pause and makes them want to do so. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Many people know they should stop and smell the roses but don't. These two authors want to help readers make it happen. Community counselor Ferguson's approach involves creating an awareness of situations that trigger cortisol, the fight/flight hormone, and learning how to react healthfully to them. She provides self-assessment tools and suggests stress-reduction activities that are geared toward those who hate exercise, tend toward introversion, or have been in a rut.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780829431056
Publisher:
Loyola Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
816,831
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

A Word from Terry

 

Living artfully with time might only require something as simple as pausing.
—Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

 

We live in a world that urges us to admire and pursue whatever is faster, whatever is newer, and whatever is bigger—the underlying idea being that we should be living a different life, not the one we’re living now.
We worship at the altar of the superlative. This is no surprise given the model by which we quantify success. Since we crave speed and we see productivity as our objective, these things become our standards for measuring how well we’re doing.
“What did you accomplish today?”
“Are you kidding?” is our response, “I’m important. Look—no white spaces on my calendar.” There are times when I feel rewarded for being so busy. Sometimes, I tell myself, a little exhaustion is worth a pat on the back.
But here’s the disquieting truth: a life based upon speed and productivity demands a high price. I know what it is like to sacrifice a marriage because I was very busy, working hard for Jesus. As a young clergyman, I had a career in church work that was successful and prominent. I polished the image of my importance, and I received public accolades. Unfortunately, in my busyness I said no to the people most important to me. And I lived a divided life, not a whole life and certainly not a holy one. I don’t want to live that way anymore.
It takes some courage, but we have to ask some probing questions.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, only to add more to your to-do list?
Have you ever felt rushed, wishing for a wand that would enable you to slow down time?
Have you ever wished for an extra day in your week?
Have you ever been in a conversation when it hits you, I’m not really here?
Has your plate of obligations ever been so full that you felt frozen, unable to move?
Have you ever been rewarded for working while exhausted?
Have you ever felt pulled in so many directions that you did not feel at home in your own skin?
Have you ever agreed to a commitment when you knew that the only healthy answer was no?
Have you ever tried to pray, only to find your mind swimming with yesterday’s worries?
Have you ever answered the question, “How are you?” with any one of these expressions, “My life is . . . so hectic, too full, very complicated, jam-­packed, behind and can’t catch up—if only I had time to answer your question”?
Have you ever wanted to pause long enough to see the handprint of God in the clouds, or in the face of a stranger, or in the irritation of the chaotic, or in the touch of friend, or in the ordinary events of the day?

If so, The Power of Pause is for you. It extends the invitation to do less, and become more.
Will this book change your life? If you are willing to practice the power of pause, the answer is assuredly, yes.

What We’re Made For

You must have a place to which you can go in your heart, your mind, or your house, almost every day, where you do not owe anyone and where no one owes you—­a place that simply allows for the blossoming of something new and promising.
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

We are wired to be present. We are built to honor the senses. We are created to be attentive, or literally just to be. But somewhere along the way, life chokes the music and poetry out of us. The Power of Pause is good for what ails us. It is based on the principle of Sabbath. Sabbath means to cease and to rest. Sabbath is a cornerstone of the Jewish faith and is affirmed by the Christian faith. In fact, the practice of Sabbath resonates with persons of every faith and religious tradition—and even those with no tradition at all. That’s because most traditions recognize that we have not only a doing space but a being space. In that doing space we work, achieve, accomplish, and produce. But in the being space are prayer, touch, rest, wonderment, and, if we are lucky, unrepentant napping.
“The power of pause. I like it,” a man told me after a workshop. “So what do I do?”
Our techno-­thinking kicks in. What are the five steps to pausing? How do we “do” Sabbath? What is the technique? We see an imbalanced life as requiring a technological fix. As a result, we try to alleviate or correct our situation by using the very same tools or resources or thinking that got us into the pickle in the first place. Can you believe that in a bookstore I found a book titled One-­Minute Bedtime Stories? It is for parents who don’t have enough time.
The Power of Pause is not only about what we do but also about what we don’t do. Is it possible that I can become a better me, not by addition, but by subtraction?
There are two kinds of pause. One is passive: I stop, I let go, I’m still, and I breathe out.
The other pause is active: I am attentive, I’m conscious in this moment, I take responsibility for the life I have right now, and I breathe in.
Why call this the power of pause? Because there is power in our awareness that our choices do in fact make a difference. The Power of Pause is the . . .

Power to pay attention

In the Jewish understanding of Shabbat—the day of pausing, or day of rest—we are to celebrate time rather than space. Six days out of the week we live under the tyranny of space or stuff. Shabbat is the day we are tuned into the holiness of time. Tuned into the reality that there are no unsacred moments. We can know that every moment is, in fact, touched by the presence and reality of God.

Power to be centered

If you’ve seen photos of Gandhi, there will inevitably be one of him sitting at his spinning wheel. Gandhi’s spinning wheel was his center of gravity. It was the great leveler in his human experience. The spinning wheel was always a reminder to Gandhi of who he was and of what the practical things in life were all about. In engaging in this regular exercise, he resisted all the forces of his public world that tried to distort who he knew himself to be.

Power to say yes to the moment and no to urgency

When I am constrained by urgency, I am making a decision about my identity. I am manipulated by my need to be hurried,  to impress, or to stay distracted.
When I give up that need for urgency and say, “No, this can wait,” I can do so because I know that I have value apart from the externals in my life. I have the permission just to be, to embrace the sacred present.

Power to listen

A little boy once said to his mother, “Mama, listen to me, but this time with your eyes.” Listening is primarily about being present. When we hurry, we develop tunnel vision. We are focused on a destination, so we see only what we want to see and we hear only what we want to hear. Pausing helps us stop and notice things outside the tunnel vision. We see or hear or notice or recognize something as it is, and not as we expected it to be.

Power to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell

The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much on faces or voices or healing power suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.
—Willa Cather, Death Comes to the Archbishop

Power to own, to take responsibility for, and to embrace my uniqueness

Each one of us is a unique child of God. When my identity comes from that awareness, I am no longer defined by what I have achieved, or what I consume, or how fast I go, or how busy I am, or how much I earn. I can live this life, and not some life yet to be. I can live from acceptance, and not for acceptance.” It is a divine reminder that life is lived from the inside out, from what Thomas Kelly called a “divine center” . . . a place of “power and peace and serenity and integration and confidence.”
We need to be careful that we do not become pause consumers, as if we are shopping for an experience, or as if pausing needs to be measured. We don’t want to be like the man who told the doctor, “I want to learn how to relax, but I want to relax better and faster than anyone else has ever relaxed before!”
So enter into this day-­by-­day or week-­by-­week experience of pausing. Who knows? You just might find a new you—or rediscover the you who has been buried under the clutter and press of the hectic. The you who is more aware, present, energized, real, and authentic. And fully alive.

Using This Book the Way You Need It

There’s no best way to use this book. We’ve arranged it in a way that makes for flexible and variable modes of participation. I’m a gardener, and so I refer quite a lot to gardening and to nature in general. So we placed the chapters in a long cycle of seasons, beginning with early autumn and ending with late summer. We know that there’s a difference between early and late, whether it’s winter or spring; the early and late parts of the seasons feel different and make us think and sense things differently.
The material in these chapters is all about helping you pause, and that’s an interior kind of process. Processes of the soul don’t happen all at once but go through phases. So within each physical season we’ve arranged stories that follow, in a loose way, a fairly common soul cycle.

Need/Desire Stillness/Sanctuary Awareness/Astonishment Contentment/Embrace Choice/Becoming Freedom/Celebration

Notice that I said that the stories in each season loosely follow this process. There’s a lot of overlap; one story might be about awareness but it also might be about choice—there are no hard-and-fast rules here. But if you want or need a story about freedom, please feel free to go to that season’s last story, which is in the “freedom/celebration” category.
All that to say, we’ve put stories into seasons because many folks like to follow the physical seasons of the year. And we’ve categorized stories according to what mood or phase your soul might be in at the time. Choose them and use them as you see fit. This book is for you, to help you pause no matter what mood or season you’re in.
  Determine how much you pause already: visit www.loyolapress.com/powerofpause and click on Book Extras to take The Power of Pause Assessment. Write your score here to help you track your progress:

   

Letting Our Souls Catch Up

By means of a diversion, we can avoid our own company twenty-­four hours a day.
—Pascal, adapted from Penses

An American traveler planned a long safari to Africa. He was a compulsive man, loaded down with maps, timetables, and agendas. Men had been engaged from a local tribe to carry the cumbersome load of supplies, luggage, and “essential stuff.”
On the first morning, they all woke very early and traveled very fast and went very far. On the second morning, they all woke very early and traveled very fast and went very far. On the third morning, they all woke very early and traveled very fast and went very far. And the American seemed pleased. On the fourth morning, the tribesmen refused to move. They simply sat by a tree. The American became incensed. “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what is going on here?”
The translator answered, “They are waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”
The sacred necessity of stillness is an invitation to savor the pleasure of slowness and the moments of stillness or even silence, letting them work their magic.
In her book The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Ehrlich talks about the idea that space can heal, that space—created by silence—represents sanity. Silence can be a fullness rather than a void. It can allow the mind to run through its paces without any need for justification. It can let us recover those parts of the self that have been so scattered, so disparate, throughout the week. To sit still is a spiritual endeavor.
To sit still is to practice Sabbath, which means, literally, to quit.

To stop.
To take a break.
To make uncluttered time.
To waste time with God.

A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead

Find a bench to sit on. If you can, buy a new or used bench or chair just for sitting, preferably outside. Practice going to that spot at least once a day just to stop, to quit, to let your soul catch up.

 

Part One Early Winter

 

Need/Desire

 

1
Fear and Dancing

 

To watch us dance is to hear our heart speak.
—Hopi saying

 

In the 1930s when Gillian was a child, her teachers considered her learning disabled, one of those students who didn’t pay attention or focus, and who could not sit still. ADHD was not yet a diagnosis, so Gillian was labeled “difficult.” And her parents were deeply troubled.
A school counselor arranged a meeting with Gillian and her parents to discuss the options. Through the entire meeting, Gillian sat on her hands, stoic, doing her best to act natural and well behaved. At the end, the counselor asked to see Gillian’s parents privately, outside the office. Before he left the room, he turned on his radio. Music filled the office. Outside the office door, the counselor asked Gillian’s parents to look back inside at their daughter. No longer seated, Gillian now moved about the room with the music—free, untroubled, and blissful.
“You see,” the counselor told the parents, “your daughter isn’t sick. She’s a dancer.”
This story could have gone another way. Gillian could have been labeled and medicated. Problem solved.
Instead, she was given the freedom to live from the inside out. The result? A lifetime of dance on stage and in films, and an extensive career as choreographer for shows such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. Difficult little Gillian became the great Gillian Lynne.
In our hearts, we are all dancers. It is that part of us that responds freely to the music of abundant life. But somewhere along the way, we lose that. And we choose to live guarded and closed. Our fears, or the fears of others, label us, restrict us, and eventually dismiss us and whatever gifts we have to offer.
To dance is to live with arms open, without fear—kind of like four-­year-­olds. Just ask them: Can you sing? If we don’t know the words, we’ll make ’em up. Can you play music? A cardboard box and a stick will do. Can you dance? Watch this! Ask an adult: Can you sing? Only in the shower, and then off-­key. Can you play music? That was years ago. Can you dance? Not without people laughing.
The music pulsated from a Latin band playing salsa. I was the learner, the beginner on the dance floor, acutely aware of my fears, knowing my left-­footedness would make me look goofy. But I watched others and was truly mesmerized; they were lost in the music, their bodies fluid. The woman teaching me said with some regularity, “Quit furrowing. You are furrowing,” referring to my brow scrunched in concentration. I was not, in fact, dancing. I was too busy counting steps. I couldn’t quite let go. I couldn’t quite let myself just be a dancer.
I take two lessons from Gillian’s story. One: the voice of Grace tells us that we are more than our labels, such as “difficult” or “odd.” It’s not that we choose to dance so much as we choose to give up being afraid.
We give up being afraid by responding to the love of the Beloved. Gillian’s counselor and parents loved her by giving her permission to be who she was. In the stillness of a sacred pause, we can hear the voice of God’s love and experience the permission that frees us. Our dance is the interplay with that love, which makes our hearts alive and unafraid.
I’ll paraphrase what Robert Capon said in Between Noon and Three: Because of fear we live life like ill-­taught piano students. So worried over the flub that gets us in Dutch, we don’t hear the music, we only play the right notes.
The second lesson: I don’t hear this voice of Grace (or invitation to dance) when my life is filled with noise and hurry, when I’m out of breath and out of time, incessantly worried about public opinion.
Which gives me one more good reason to pause and let the music of the sacred summon me.

Inspirations Dance in Your Blood Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
—Rumi, quoted in Dancing with Joy by Roger Housden

A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead

Put on some music you really like, and listen for a while. Name the things you’re afraid of while the music surrounds you. Then move a little to the music and imagine those fears floating away on those beautiful sounds.

 

Stillness/Sanctuary

 

2
Two Spaces

 

Sabbath time is a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork, because it honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy. . . . During Sabbath, when we take our hand from the plow and let the earth care for things, while we drink, if just briefly, from the fountain of rest and delight.
—Wayne Muller, Sabbath

Every day after school, the son of a well-­known rabbi would enter his house, place his backpack on the dining room table, leave the house through the back door, and head into the woods behind the house.
At first, the rabbi gave little thought to his son’s ritual. But it continued for days, and then for weeks. Every day, out into the woods for almost a half hour. The rabbi grew concerned.
“My son,” he said one day. “I notice that every day you leave our home to spend time in the woods. What is it you are doing there?”
“Oh, Papa,” the son replied. “There is no need to worry. I go into the woods to pray. It is in the woods that I can talk to God.”
“Oh,” the rabbi said, clearly relieved. “But, as the son of a rabbi, you should know that God is the same everywhere.”
“Yes, Papa. I know that God is the same everywhere. But, I am not.”
This little boy knew, instinctively, that there are two spaces. Both of them important.
In the one space, we generate productivity, accomplishment, action, and busyness. It is a necessary space. And truthfully, I enjoy this space more than the other because I know who I am here. I get rewarded here—pats on the back, pay raises, compliments. And I find an odd comfort in playing that role.
In the other space we find quiet, reflection, prayer, contemplation, renewal, meditation, the power of pause, and, if we are lucky, unrepentant napping.
This second space is Sabbath space. Sabbath space is seldom encouraged in our we-­want-­it-­now, are-­you-­keeping-­busy, what-­have-­you-­done-­for-­me-­lately, are-­you-­somebody, super-­size-­that-­please world.
I believe that deep down, all of us know the importance of Sabbath space. I also believe that all of us have such a space; we just don’t know what to call it. The consequence? All too often we disregard it and don’t give it the priority it deserves.
Your Sabbath space doesn’t have to be the woods. It can be in your garden, in your car (while commuting), on a porch swing, by a lake or river, or at a fountain in the park. Sabbath space can be a particular corner of your home, a tucked-­away spot in the library, or a chair in your favorite coffee shop.
Wherever that space may be, you and I can be grateful for the wisdom of a rabbi’s young son. He knew that the key ingredient was not the actual physical space but who he was when he entered it.
“I go there,” he told his father, “to listen.”

Inspirations God leads me to still waters, that restore my spirit.
—Psalm 23

A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead

Find a space that helps you listen. In other words, find your Sabbath space.

 

Awareness/Astonishment

 

3
Washing Dishes

 

Christ learned about his mission while he was cutting wood and making chairs, beds, and cabinets. He came as a carpenter to show us that—no matter what we do—everything can lead us to the experience of God’s love.
—Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra
 

I Sat Down and Wept

My friend Tim Hansel wrote a book on parenting. He asked his young sons, “Boys, how do you know Dad loves you?”
He figured that they would say, “Remember when you took us to Disney World, like for ten days!” They didn’t say that.
He figured they’d say, “Remember the Christmas you bought us all that great stuff!”
They didn’t say that. They said, “Dad, we know you love us when you wrestle with us.”
He remembered two times. He had come home hungry, tired, and late. But these urchins were yanking on his pant leg. “So I rolled with them on the floor, toward the kitchen,” he said, “just to get them out of my way.”
And then it hit him. In the middle of that very ordinary, boring event, real life was happening. Unfeigned joy, love, intimacy, connection, grace, sacrament—all were woven into the commonplace. “But,” Tim laments, “I missed it. Because I was only tuned in to Disney World and Christmas.”
There is nothing wrong with Disney World or Christmas. But they have meaning only because the sacred already resides in the more ordinary events and places. Because of the wrestling times.
God is real in small gifts and simple pleasures. God is present in the commonplace, the weak, the flawed, the compromised.
The profane is not the antithesis of the sacred, but the bearer of it.
We can get catawampus in our perspective when we split the world in two: the sacred and the non­sacred. Whenever I make that split, I find that I have done so because I am resentful or frustrated. I remember sitting in a Benedictine chapel for Compline. There was a lengthy—ten minutes or more—time of silence, for contemplation and reflection. But my mind raced with a conversation I had earlier that day. The conversation had been ugly and unpleasant. So I spent my ten minutes contemplating ways to get even, elaborate ways to make this person suffer. And then I felt guilty for wasting this time for spiritual reflection. My emotional turmoil and heat were only stoked by the need to move past this profane place. I was unable to allow it to also be a place of prayer.
We are so bent on removing ourselves from the mundane that we miss miracles. Not surprisingly, once we see the miracle in the mundane, we do our best to turn the mundane into a project: five steps to creating wrestling times. We do not rest in the solace that God is present, having nothing to do with our faith or our effort to invest the moment with meaning.
In other words, there is freedom in this gift of wrestling times. I don’t need to craft the moment, I can simply live it.
I don’t need to find meaning in the moment, I can receive it.
A monk once came to the Chinese Zen master Zhaozhou at breakfast time and said, “I have just entered this monastery to learn about God. Please teach me.”
“Have you eaten your porridge yet?” asked Zhaozhou.
“Yes, I have,” replied the monk.
“Then you had better wash your bowl.”

A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead

This week, embrace the mundane acts, such as washing dishes, pulling weeds, commuting, walking the dog. Consider them a form of prayer.

 

Contentment/Embrace

 

4
The Gift of the Moon

 

Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.
—St. John of the Cross

 

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a small, remote hut. One night a thief entered the hut, only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him in the act.
“You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the disillusioned prowler, “and you should not return empty-­handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”
The thief was bewildered. But he took the clothes and crept back into the night.
Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused. “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.”
Sometimes I feel like that thief. Standing—in my own home, or in front of an audience, or in a crowd, or all alone—and looking for something but, like that thief, not finding it. What am I missing? I ask myself. What am I yearning for, that I find myself in such a pell-­mell hurry? So I run and call on God or the sky, or roll the dice with some prayer from my childhood. This will solve it. But the more I push, the more I ask, the more frustrated I become.
Here’s the deal: In my state of distraction, I cannot see that the place where I stand right now—even without clarity or stability or faith—is right at the center of an awesome and illogical grace. Even as I wonder what I am looking for, I am smack-dab in the middle of the sacred present.
If I do have the freedom to see that place, I know that I am grounded. I can now breathe in, and out, and rest.
A week ago, my wife, son, and I left the house at predawn. I walked ahead of the car, pulling our garbage container down our drive to the main road. I happened to glance up to the eastern sky, where the moon was a slivered crescent, hanging on a deep royal ­blue sky. The sight was momentary, yet visceral and arresting. And for whatever reason, it was reassuring. I stopped. Literally, my legs quit moving. Now this snapshot was imprinted, and I knew in my heart that it was in some way vital and indispensable. I accepted this gift of the moon, even though I didn’t yet know why.
As the day welcomes dawn, the sky on this morning is an enchanting pageant. The cloud cover is layered, like some sinfully rich marble cake. In other places, I see billowed fabric, with an occasional rent in the cloth, revealing the softest blue of morning sky. As the backlighting increases, the cloud formations become more substantial, as if a permanent, marbled sculpture. And the band of light just above the Cascade Mountains changes to a deep tangerine.
Yes, this scene is a tonic. There is something about these moments that carry significance. They are reminders, and they are sacraments—partial, yes, but containing the full sustenance of grace.

 

Christmas tree lots are busy now, and stores have begun their exhortations to come and buy the perfect gift. (If you have a hankering, and money to spend, buy me an ugly tie and we’ll call it good.)
In the church, we are about to begin the season of Advent. Advent is about waiting for the arrival of something or someone very important. (This is to be differentiated from Christmas, which is about waiting in line at the mall. And don’t get me started about the parking lot, where I circled five times at Bellevue Square Mall, with my window rolled down, using salty language antithetical to Christmas cheer, shouting to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”)
We are waiting for the arrival of something. But this is modern life, which tells us, “Stay very busy while you wait.” Even in our churches we value busyness and create, in Thomas Kelly’s words, “jitterbug programs of fevered activity.” Advent schedules at a church offer three or four events per week. Even with so much to choose from, we feel, oddly, like that thief, empty-­handed.
This reminds me of the young couple (a long time ago) who were looking for lodging. Their plans called for a semi-­comfortable inn. What awaited them? An empty stable, with not much to offer but straw and starlight. And the songs of angels.
I wonder, what would happen if we made this announcement at church: “There are many activities this Advent. Because of that, we recommend you choose just one.”
What are you doing this Advent? I’m sitting this one out. Really. After all, Advent is about waiting. As in sitting still.
Thinking of my predawn moment, I wish I could give you the gift of that crescent moon.

Inspirations Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him.
—Psalm 37

A Powerful Pause for the Days Ahead

Go look at the moon if you can. Stare at it and breathe in, breathe out. Think of this moonlight bathing your whole life—even the parts that are disorganized and unfinished.

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