The PAUSE Button


It’s tough to watch a show on TV with my husband hovering around.  Tim likes my full attention and he doesn’t particularly appreciate sharing our precious moments together with Downton Abbey or Property Brothers.  If I do partake of a little TV therapy in front of him, I’ve learned to make liberal use of the PAUSE button.

It’s mostly win/win.  I pause and listen to him chat about Seattle sports—and he feels heard—then I go back to my show until he interrupts me once again.

But sometimes I push PAUSE and don’t go back immediately.  Maybe a child wakes up or I get distracted.  I turn off the DVR and days pass before I have a moment to sit again. 

And I inevitably lose my place. 

I fast-forward and rewind.  I search and search for just the right spot to re-engage.  But I never really find it if I let too much time elapse. 

Even though the story is the same—it feels different somehow.

This imagery perfectly describes my life right now—a life interrupted. 

Maybe it resonates with you too?

Life suddenly hits the PAUSE button and we spin out of control.

For me, it’s been four months of messiness—relational and emotional and physical wounds to the soul.  I left normal like Dorothy in the whirlwind of the Wizard of OZ.

This week I said goodbye to my mom.  Four weeks ago I buried my dad.  Two funerals in a month—two terminal illnesses and four months of intense suffering and grief are finally over.

This chapter closed.  The PAUSE button lifted.  It’s time to exhale.  Dorothy is back in Kansas.

In some ways the brevity of the loss may be just sinking in, but on the other hand, the intense anxiety is washed away in the sweet release of death.  I never thought I would welcome this separation, but then again, I’ve never seen cancer close up.  I’ve never experienced what a brain on a crash course with atrophy looks like. 

I prayed so desperately to be with my dad when he passed and God granted me this wish.  But with my mom, in the final hours I couldn’t handle it.  Call me a wuss—I’ll own it.  As the shadow of death crossed her face, I fled to the safety of my husband’s arms—as if I could pretend it wasn’t real. 

Unfortunately, it was.  I was on the road driving back when she died. 

When I arrived at my mom’s house I sat by her side.  Even in death she was beautiful.  I found her red sequin slippers and ever so gently placed them on her feet.  I wanted her to be ready to meet the Grand Wizard—just in case she changed her mind in the last moments.  Just in case Jesus reached out for her hand and she took it.

I don’t know what to do with myself this week.  The vigils are over.  No more hospital visits, no more oncologists and neurologists and high security Alzheimer’s homes.  No more hospice and social workers and home health care workers. 

Where do I hit play again?  Where does the movie start when the entire landscape has changed?

Maybe your movie changed too?

Maybe you lost a child, got divorced or experienced the death of a dream?  Something within you died and your movie is radically altered.

And yet you hold on…

There is a part of you yearning for restoration, clinging to hope, and confident that someway God will build something glorious out of this tragedy.

I don’t always understand the mystery and bigness of God.  I don’t understand how he heals or rebuilds or reignites a flame of hope in the desperate. But I do know when I cry out and hold out my hands HE is there with me in the fire and the storm and even in death.

And he will direct this new film as I hit PLAY once more. The ending might change but the story is still beautiful.

Has your life been interrupted recently?



  1. Ali Woodard says:

    Oh my. So many things you are dealing with, my sweet Sam. My prayers are with you for healing and comfort, and for GOD’s leading into your new chapter. xoxo

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