It’s a weird feeling, being stuck in a carriage on a roller-coaster I don’t want to be on, slowly making my way up the biggest incline. If you’ve read my first blog then you’ll know what I’m talking about!
It can feel like I’m crawling at a snail’s pace just counting down each day, each week, each month of treatment while everyone else’s life on the outside appears to be moving forward at a normal speed. It’s a feeling not that dissimilar to being stuck in an extended lockdown due to a covid outbreak, where each day can blend into the rest unless a deliberate effort is made to be productive in some small way.
Yet I am appreciating that this extended ride actually offers me the opportunity to look out from the carriage and to gain a fresh new perspective…one I would probably never “see” otherwise. So although I am experiencing the PAUSE to my normal while others are on FORWARD I am being present in each day and enjoying the little things! Those little things include being able to do some work from home with the company of my dogs, occasionally writing this blog, and spending time with whichever family member happens to be around. There’s plenty of time to read, to walk around the garden, or to just sit outside and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. As I do there are some glaringly obvious things pop up in my view.
Firstly, I’m not irreplaceable at work. And my guess is you’re probably not either! I think we all like to hope it is the case, but the reality is entirely different! Others have picked up the programs I usually run, and the students I normally support at the school where I work are doing just fine without me. Thankfully I’m able to continue doing some admin from home, but I really miss those interactions! Secondly, health is something that we can SO take for granted until we have to fight for it! We service our cars, how much more should we “service” our bodies with healthy food, exercise, and regular checkups? Thirdly, I’ve discovered who my loyal friends are…the ones who deliberately slow their life down in order to be present at times in mine, or have been a “Titus“. I thank God for them often. I’ve also appreciated afresh how utterly incredible and committed my husband is, and how capable and responsible our kids are. I am loved by family. I’m part of a great church. I’m very blessed!
During this unexpected and extended PAUSE due to cancer treatment, I’m trying to reassess, re-prioritise, and gain a fresh perspective. It’s not something we naturally hit PAUSE to do! But it’s so important. Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt 6:25) Life is certainly more than the “stuff” we have. It’s who we are. It’s who we love. It’s what we do with the gifts God has given us. Seasons of life change and with each change comes opportunity. Moses was eighty years old when God called Him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt! That tells me it is never too late to follow what God puts in your heart at any age.
So…..sit outside. Look at the clouds. Listen to the birds. Be present. Pause and contemplate your life. Be grateful. Stop sweating the small stuff. Forgive any offences. Let go of regrets. Dream dreams. Where would you like to be five years from now? Who would you like to be?
Normal can be unexpectedly stripped away at any time. It’s traumatic when it happens. Nobody asks for their “normal” life to be put on PAUSE while they deal with grief, or loss, or illness. Like a bushfire whipping through the landscape, things may never be exactly the same and there may be a new normal to get used to. But after the devastation comes the potential for new growth and new purpose. Beauty can come out of ashes. How wonderful!
Don’t wait for the unexpected to create a PAUSE in your life. Intentionally pause now. Tell someone you love them. Appreciate what you have. Be grateful for every blessing. If you need something in your life to change, then take a small step today toward making that change happen!