Where I work there was some confusion about when time needed to be taken off by the end of the year. Turns out the end of the year is December 12, and I had 2 days to use. I took them last week, during Thanksgiving break. My daughter was out of school so that seemed ok. But what I did not expect was to realize, in the process of these days, that my body needed a break. Funny how when forced to pause a bit, with no plans, you can realize that pause was what was needed.
What I had not realized was a bunch of stress I had was triggering migraines that did not want to leave. Continuing to look at the computer screen was not helping. Yet when leaving for a few days I wanted to take my laptop with me to get some work done at home. I talked myself out of that. Something told me to leave everything and take a break.
With that break, migraines decreased. There was a feeling that a migraine was just sitting there, waiting to be triggered, but those feelings diminished. I had to take a day off from the treadmill due to the "migraine about to happen" feeling. It's a ticking feeling in my head that is hard to describe. It's a reminder that the migraine can return with one bright light, one loud noise, or something else.
And so what did I do with the pause time? I realized I am not used to it. My daughter had no activities so there was nowhere we had to go. There was no reason to wake up early. Usually I get up early even when not working due to leg spasms, but those just didn't happen, so I found myself lying in bed at peace, paused, and finding it very strange.
We went to the mall. We didn't have a big reason to go which was also strange. We meandered, not really feeling comfortable without some kind of agenda or list of things we needed. We discovered that Black Friday sales really start the whole week beforehand, when stores are pretty empty. I walked on our treadmill at home and felt good. I thought a bit less about work and that is a good thing. Family time. I realized the importance of being with family.
I watched perhaps too much of the news and got annoyed, bothered, frustrated and sad. I got to send messages to Facebook friends more regularly and have missed that connection source. I got caught up on some phone calls that always seem to accumulate.
I thought more about what is most important in life. In the end, going full-speed at work is overrated. Spending time with family, meandering with no place to go, and doing general catch-up is a good way to find that pause. I tried to explain that to someone today but they didn't see it. Maybe some don't see it? I have a few close friends who have very significant health concerns right now. I want to be with them. I pause to reflect time spent with them, one who knew me when I was born - our closest family friend - all those good times we had - the laughter, the smiles, knowing I could always count on them for support. Pause.
This was right as we approached Advent - a time to watch, wait, listen - and I experienced it a bit early. The work of God is everywhere if we just pay attention. And now we are here - Advent - a time when pausing can continue, as we look around us for glimpses of God. And those glimpses are everywhere.