“Our universe was fired in the kiln of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, when all existing matter was compressed into a singularity, a point no larger than the period at the end of this sentence.” David Suzuki and Wayne Grady, Tree: A Life Story
Suzuki writes further of the expansion of this period-come-cosmos and so inspires me to imagine that we are living in this period, this full stop. There is something mind altering about this realization, that we are fixed at the end of a sentence, in a full stop, a pause.
Most of us don’t much like to pause, and so to be a pause, well, that’s quite the call: to know that enough has been said, that it is time to rest, to relax, to allow the word to resonate for all with ears to hear. It is a challenge to be a pause. It is hard to leave control in the ears of the hearer; it is hard not to try, even subtly, to bend the hearer to my intentions, to make the hearer obedient, to make the hearer in my image.
It is hard to pause period. So much gets in our way of stopping. There are so many important things to do: laundry to launder, reports to write, the cat to feed, the universe to fix. There are, of course, many important things to do and I don’t mean to belittle them. But every now and then, we need to be reminded of our responsibility to stop and to yield to the fact that we are not God. Sometimes it is hard not to be God. I think Jesus knew something of that. Not pulling the God-card landed him on the cross. That might not be our story, but giving up on being in charge sometimes results in our own crosses: I cross others who have expected more of me than I can deliver; I cross myself in being the human that I am; I cross a great divide and become authentically human when I stop and accept my finitude, my Sabbath.
It actually is a gift to be a pause; to be the between, to be the space that allows that expansion of the self that is my neighbour, my friend, my enemy. Indeed, it is a gift to stop and to be in the presence of people who become more as I accept them unconditionally. I stop demanding more of them; I stop ordering them around; I stop finishing their sentences, their chapter, their story. I stop, and in stopping I discover that it really isn’t the other that has changed so much as me. I have paused, and in pausing I am of a piece with a sentence: full stop.