Our life has some momentum. The direction and intensity of the motion will vary by person, but we are people on the move. We choose. We act. We defer. So, what happens when the big “Pause” button is hit?
This question has been jingling in my mind since my brother’s accident, and it kindled again this weekend while watching a solid movie called The Descendants.
The Pause button in life is when:
- We may not be able to speak for ourselves.
- We may not be able to do for ourselves.
- We may be physically present, but our mental capabilities are idled.
The Pause button, bluntly stated, is when our life becomes comatose or worse. It is those unexpected events that slam into our life, upending it from whatever course we are on.
As Donald Miller so accurately points out, our life is a story. It is unfolding with the good, bad, and ugly choices we make and have made. We are a significant character in our life story, with many supporting cast members. We play the lead role, hopefully.
When our lead role is taken out, our supporting cast has to jump in and carry our story forward until such time we gain our role back. If this never happens, then our story ends, placed on the bookshelf to gather dust or be remembered for the lessons our life may have been fortunate enough to offer.
Here is the tough part for the supporting characters: We have to understand your life decisions and directions and then try to continue or tie-up the dangling story lines. The choices you made, or did not make, now need to be made by the people who have been around you. And, we may not know exactly what you were doing or not doing.
Life can be messy, and the dangling story lines in our life need to be limited. Or, said another way, how proud would you be to have someone else tie-up your story’s loose ends? The answer to this question directs a penetrating light on how delighted you are with your life at this very moment in time.
I can tell you this. Doing this is worse than sneaking a peak at your sister’s secret diary. It is not written words of desires or thoughts; it is real actions – taken or not – that come to light and need to be addressed.
You may be thinking right now, what am I really talking about? I am talking about:
- If you don’t have an advance directive, how will your care be handled?
- If you are behind financially, does anyone know, and who will pay your bills?
- If you are having an extramarital affair, how will that play out in your absence?
- If your business practices are less than honest, who will pay the consequences?
You may notice that each of these have a negative thread to them, and they are the stray story lines we write into our life sometimes… unfortunately.
There could be other matters as well, like:
- Who will continue the lead role in your charity initiative?
- Who will publish your newly written book?
- Who will lead your mission-worthy organization forward?
Each contains a more positive story line, although the questions still need to be answered during disruptive times.
Here’s the point:
- We need live our life story fully.
- We need to leave only the dangling story lines that will make people proud to carry them forward.
- We need to have contingency plans for the vital story lines we want to have carried forward by others when we can no longer play that role.
Our life is a story, and no one’s story is perfect.
The simple fact is this: We need to live our life in a way that we are proud of all our story lines, and we would welcome anyone to peek in while we are present or not. We need to live in a way that others would be inspired by what we have done and weave certain aspects of our actions into their own life story.
Join the Conversation
What Happens When the Pause Button Is Hit on Your Life?
Jon, you are already an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.
Tracy, Honored and very grateful for your comment. Thank you. Jon
Jon ~ I am very sorry to hear about your brother’s accident. I wish him a full and speedy recovery back to a healthy body, mind and spirit.
I have always believed that sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. It just resonates with me. So, I force myself to take my pauses when I can. To evaluate, calibrate and reset, if necessary.
Your excellent post does give me pause for thought ~ there are a few important things that I have been postponing, that I need to take care of. I thank you for the reminder.
Keep writing ~ and may the Joy of this season find you ~ particularly in the pauses. Namaste.
Thank you for your comments and insights, Kumud. My brother is recovering well, and he is beginning to piece his life back together. I agree that we need to take pauses in life, whether it is to catch up or just catch our breath. I hope that during this Season you also have the time to do this… Always enjoy your thoughts and work. Jon
Hi Jon, I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s accident and am happy to see he is on the mend. This post was insightful and inspiring. It certainly resonates with me. You know what John Lennon said, “Life is busy happening while you’re making other plans” My younger brother passed away a year ago after a long illness in the prime of his life. He did have everything in order, thank God. I love what you said about “sometimes you have to slow down to speed up” I absolutely agree and I try to do that on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing this with us and for the wonderful contribution you’re making to the community. Jan.
Thanks, Jan, and I am sorry to hear about your younger brother. Life can be so tough at times yet, hopefully, we learn something from what happens. I appreciate your thoughts and always enjoy your insights. Thanks again, Jon