You've heard the saying, "stop and smell the roses". You know, taking the time to push the pause button, if only for just a second, to see the beauty around us. Even more so, it allows us to break the busy cycle that many times we are forced to be enslaved to in our daily lives. A moment, a break, a pause to dig our faces out of the 'sand' of stress, problems and burdens that may be facing us that day and have been consuming all of our attention.
A new study suggests that people are happier when they take the time to appreciate the good things in life. I believe that. I've seen it and I've experienced it myself. But I think that more can come out of stopping and smelling the roses. Sometimes, pushing the pause button can be a way to make us aware of God moments. Moments that have been orchestrated by God himself either for you to be blessed or for you to be a blessing.
Last month, I was leaving the church on a bitter cold Monday night after our prayer group. It was raining and I didn't realize that we had been getting some freezing rain. Alex went to move the car and as I walked to the other side of the parking lot I stepped on some ice and down I went. It hurt but I got myself up, barely, and before I knew it, BAM! There I went again, falling a second time. My arm and hiney hurt a bit but I figured I'd be fine by the next day.
Tuesday came and my arm and hiney were still hurting. I didn't call my doctor but people at work kept insisting that I should because when you're pregnant you are supposed to. Well, I let it go for the day as I kept busy working away, but here and there I was feeling some new 'pains' in the lower part of my belly. So, after I got out of work I decided to call the doctor's office. They suggested I head to the hospital just to get checked and make sure everything was okay with the baby.
Now, I debated this one in my head for a bit. See, I had plans that evening. It was going to be our first ladies group for the winter season, and not only did I want to be there but I was also the one leading it. Yeah, this whole thing about going to the hospital was definitely messing with my plans. I reasoned with myself, "okay, it's early enough so perhaps, I'll be in and out quickly and well, even if not quick, I could just grab dinner on the go and head straight to group". With that in mind, I took myself to the hospital.
My mind wasn't on anything else but to get in and out of there as quickly as possible. And so, as I sat there in the waiting room, I decided to do what most of us are so good at in this electronic world we live in. Yes, I dug my phone out of my purse but when I turned it on I got that most annoying little sound we all hate to hear coming from our precious treasures, yes, I'm talking about the 'low battery' sound. ARGH! And so, I was forced to put my phone away! The nerve!
And there, in the midst of being forced to do what we used to do before we had our electronic devices-you know, engage with the immediate world around us-I was gifted with opportunity #1 to 'stop and smell the roses'. But as quickly as I was pushed into it I tried to get away from it. So I did what any of us would do, I looked for an outlet, there had to be one in this room, all I needed was one close to a chair so I could be on it while it was charging (you know what I'm talking about!). As I was perusing the room for said outlet I noticed a woman sitting across from me. She looked distraught. For a brief moment I wondered what had caused her deep sadness but then my eyes quickly moved on to keep searching for an outlet. Ah! Yes! Eureka! found one! There was one right there, across from me, two chairs down from the woman I noticed earlier. I moved and began to charge my phone but I had to wait a bit for it to charge enough so I could turn it on because by this time the battery had already died on me. And as I waited I was given another nudge to stop and 'smell the roses'. I was forced once again to engage with my immediate surroundings rather than have my head buried in a little screen and as I did I couldn't help but look back at that distraught woman I had seen earlier. There was such sadness in her eyes, her demeanor was such that I myself began to sense it in my spirit. I knew something had happened but wasn't quite sure what. As I saw tears coming down her cheeks I began to cry myself but I wasn't crying due to my hormonal pregnancy stage, it wasn't just a little emotional cry. It was a cry that I could feel deep within my soul. And that's when I knew this was a God moment.
My heart began to beat fast as I could almost hear God whispering in my ear "go and speak to her". "But what will I say? I don't even know why she's so sad...and I'm a complete stranger." I held back a bit, looked back to see if my phone had enough juice so I could turn it on but it was too late, my mind was no longer engaged in this little device, my heart had taken over and was deeply engaged in the God moment I was being graced with. I began to pray for her, asking God to be with her during this moment. Even if she didn't have faith in God, I prayed that he would comfort her. I prayed and prayed, and cried and cried while seating there. I knew I would be called in every minute now and I couldn't get away from the thought that I was to go and speak to her, so I did. I went and sat next to her and said, "I'm sorry, I know you don't know me, I know I'm a complete stranger but I couldn't help but noticed that you look so sad. I don't know what you're going through but I wanted to get your name so I can be praying for you." She looked at me, grabbed my hand, held it tight as if saying 'I needed this'. She gave me her name and we talked a bit. We cried together and in between tears she managed to utter the phrase "thank you". She hugged me and I said "I will be praying for you". And at that very moment my name was called.
While on the hospital bed, hooked up to machines that monitored the baby's heartbeat, and while given a shot to slow down the contractions I was having, I kept praying for Jennifer. But then my mind tried to quickly thrust me back into the craziness of this world as I kept trying to get out of that place so I could go and fulfill my previous plans. But then, a nurse came in, and I was presented with opportunity #2. This time I was quicker to recognize it and to acknowledge it and not ignore it. I paused, I stop to smell the roses and allowed this God moment to take place. What started as a simple conversation turned into an opportunity to share my story of infertility and the miracle that I had been given.
God moments sometimes may seem as interruptions which is why we are so quick to disregard them. We don't have time, we got places to go, people to see, to do lists to finish. We don't think we have the luxury to pause for such 'petty' moments. Oh! but if we only stopped long enough to embrace them for within these moments lie beautiful opportunities. Not only could you be the giver of a small blessing to someone else but you may be the one that is being positioned to be the receiver of a blessing.
Perhaps, next time an 'interruption' threatens to interfere with our daily busy schedules we should stop long enough to see if we are being graced with a God moment.
Yes, perhaps, we should stop and smell the roses a bit more often. Who knows what could come out of it!