This post is part of Dominican Center's series Stay in the Light ~ Stories of Prayer and Hope During a Pandemic.
What happens when you push the pause button on a movie or video?
The movie stops. A still picture freezes on the television screen. Quiet reigns. We then have time to grab a favorite snack or stretch our legs before we return to the action.
What happens when an unexpected pandemic pushes the pause button on our lives?
Life, as we know it, pauses. We shelter in, work remotely, or, if our jobs have slowed or vanished, perhaps not work at all.
City streets are empty of morning and rush hour traffic. Restaurants and movie theatres are closed. Sports and school and even church have stopped. The world is in pause mode.
We may not be able to get the products we’re accustomed to. There are shortages of things we’ve come to believe as “essential.” And the news blares the daily death toll and warns of economic calamity. We feel powerless.
We are powerless.
Or are we?
What if we looked at the other side of this situation? We have time to read and do crafts. We have time for quiet reflection as we let go of our rush-rush life. There’s even time to rest and play.
People are taking walks. Families are eating together. Mothers and fathers are playing basketball and baseball with their children.
Webinars and Zoom meetings pop up to lift our spirits and give new understanding about how to maneuver through our disrupted lives. Spirituality abounds with creative social media and video technology. Courage reigns as medical and other professionals risk their lives to care for the sick and suffering. God did not cause this pandemic. People did.
But the Creator walks alongside us and uses everything—even a worldwide virus—to help us grow, learn, and rediscover the simple things in life. Things like reading a book, spending time in meditation, and leaning into the support of loved ones as we ebb and flow with faith and fear.
Thomas Keating, the monk who pioneered the meditation practice of Centering Prayer says daily quiet time is key to living a life of inner peace, balance, and wholeness. He said the Holy Spirit inspires men and women to return to solitude each day to reconnect with the Inner Voice of God and gain wisdom and guidance.
Years ago, Brian Casey, a lawyer-turned-lay preacher, held a week-long mission at our church. By the middle of the week, I was awestruck by his words about the unconditional love of God and how the Creator of the stars and moon, sun and oceans desires to communicate with us.
I didn’t know God had a voice! I didn’t know God wanted to speak to me! But when Jesus promised he was the good shepherd and the sheep could hear his voice, Jesus meant it.
I met with Preacher Brian after one of the evening sessions and asked how I could hear God’s voice. He told me the Creator speaks in the silence of our hearts. So, we have to hit the pause button each day and spend quiet time listening, waiting, and letting our souls rest in God so we can hear the voice of wisdom. Brian said quiet time solves everything because it allows us to hear the Divine Whisper.
Since that mission, I’ve made it a daily practice to get up each morning and spend time alone with God. It’s been a game-changer.
During these uncertain times, I have an inner place I can visit to talk with God, share my fears and joys, and get insight as to how the Creator is leading and guiding me, my family, and my workplace. This place of interior prayer has become a safe haven in this pandemic storm.
I wonder if this is the “Great Pause.” Is this unprecedented time in history an invitation to slow our hurried lives, turn off the noise of the world, and quiet our hearts so we can reconnect with our souls?
I believe it is. We may never have a better time to pause our busy lives and listen to God’s voice.
God didn’t cause this pandemic. People did.
But that doesn’t mean God isn’t here to help us through it and make the most out of this unique situation.
Create your own safe haven in this pandemic storm. Pause. Sit in the quiet and listen.
Tania Harris, a pastor who’s made it her life’s mission to teach others how to hear God’s voice says we can all hear the Creator’s voice. We just need to learn how. Check out her website by clicking on this link to learn more: God Conversations - Heard from God lately?
God is speaking in the midst of this Great Pause. Listen. Can you hear the Divine Voice?
At Dominican Center, we believe we are prayer in action, and that connection, contemplation, and creativity will see us through these unsettling times and help us find and be in light. We invite you to share with the Dominican Center community your prayer in action and to feed our souls with that which feeds yours. Read more about the Stay in the Light series here.
To take part in the Stay in the Light ~ Stories of Prayer and Hope During a Pandemic series, please send your writings and related attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian J. Plachta is a writer, spiritual director, and speaker. A lay ecclesial minister for thirty-five years, Brian holds a master's in pastoral counseling and is a frequent teacher on a broad variety of practical spirituality topics at workshops, retreats, conference centers, and colleges. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Dominican Spiritual Life Center in Michigan and is the founding partner of Plachta, Murphy & Associates, where he practices law. Brian’s passion is helping men and women discover their Inner Compass—the divine voice of wisdom in their souls.