Practicing Pause

There is a certain magic in pause: when a space is created we can enter into together, stepping away from our own schedules and agendas, suspending them for a moment to be present in a particular time and space with others. In a culture obsessed with constant busyness and movement, and especially in this season of finals, it is a battle to create these kinds of pauses, but I have found that they are necessary to the human soul, both individually and communally.

We at City House have endeavored throughout this past semester to practice pause together. Sometimes we do it better than at other times, but we are learning and growing in our ability to create this space, and I think our love for it is growing as well. One way we practice pause regularly is by eating dinner together. Around the table we share our food and stories from the day and from our lives. We also shared a few intentional retreats together throughout the semester. Most recently we took three hours to sit among piles of blankets and plates of cookies and popcorn in our living room, circled around a cluster of glowing candles, taking turns asking questions of one another to get to know our housemates on a deeper level. In that space, I found that my worries and cares melted away and there was a simple joy in being present in that warm, flickering light with this community I am learning to love deeply.

We are also learning to create pause even in the midst of other activities, to rest in the movement. Sometimes this means delighting in just being together while cooking and serving food at our local soup kitchen. Sometimes it is lounging and chatting in one another’s rooms in between rounds of papers and studying, allowing the thoughts and reflections that are half-buried under stress regarding the onslaught of schoolwork we face to rise to the surface. These are the moments that call us out of survival mentality into a reality in which we as people created for rhythms of work and rest are able to thrive, even in the midst of chaos.

When opportunities for pause arrive, it is tempting push them away, feeling we don’t have time or energy, but when we do embrace them we find that these are the moments that God will use to refresh us and to restore our delight in himself and in all that he calls us to.

-Janelle (Resident Director)

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