June 9, 2010

A friend recently took me to dinner to celebrate a milestone–the completion of my first manuscript.  What had started as a simple journal developed over time into a full-fledged book, through many doubts, fits and starts.  Not until its completion did I recognize one of its most important lessons, the key perhaps to understanding the entire process: the purpose of the pause.

As we discussed events of our lives over the past year during the five course meal, moments between dishes served seemed a perfect picture of needful reflection on what we had just taken in; the chance to savor fully; the cleansing of the palate to make ready for the next.  As if to underscore this, at the top of an hour, an unexplainable hush fell over all the diners as an old grandfather clock in one corner of the room chimed out the time; the curious silence hovered in the air for a moment or two before conversation swept back like the tide.

Through much of my life, I have not taken adequate time to pause and reflect in life’s many passages. Next moments seem to come faster than the last ones; yet the more I attempt to capture them, the more bereft of time I feel.  The irony is that when I am vigilant about holding intentional space for rest and meditation, the more time there seems to be for responsibilities, opportunities, and play.

The Hebrew musical term ‘selah’ means ‘to pause, and think calmly of that.’  Appearing in instances throughout the book of Psalms, the songwriter directs readers to a bridge of silence between movements: a nuanced tension.  To create readiness for the next moment because the previous one was experienced to the full.

A pause honors what was, and is the preparation for the new.  One season merges gradually to the next; the sun rises and sets and in between, there is rest.

Before starting the next project, I am going to reflect on what it means to have just completed a journey.  Selah.


2 Responses to “Selah.”

  1. findingthemotherlode said

    Take a bow.
    For every faithful step, every drop of courage.


  2. I am humbled by the length of the trajectory from start to finish, but trust that the events of life have somehow enriched the musings in ways I could not (and likely would not!) have planned. It is nothing, if not a testament to God’s keeping and grace. You have been a true companion of the spirit, and my gratitude runs deep.

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