Why didn’t they stop? I wondered that years ago when my world crumbled like old Roman architecture. Business meetings continued; church continued; chores wouldn’t wait; and the world continued fast and furious, in a hurry, always late, and I wanted to throw up my hands and yell, “I”m in pain. Why don’t you care?”

I often think of those moments. Usually, it’s when I am walking or driving somewhere and I see someone, a face, walking somewhere, going somewhere, always moving. I have made it a habit of practicing the art of stopping. I stop when a friend asks me to stop. I stop when the phone rings and my mother-in-law needs me. I stop when my husband is having a bad day. I stop and realize that in the practice of stopping I notice other things, too.

Like the little boy who ran across the grass today–I noticed him. His mother chased after him. The sun light sprinkled over the green grass and contrasted against the generous tree trunks hugging the ground. The bees buzzed from yellow flower to yellow flower unmindful of our blanket spread across the grass—an impromptu picnic with my husband. The smell of a cigar somewhere in the plaza and the laughter of a little girl playing chase around the trunk of another tree made me playfully push my husband to the ground. He, of course, pushed back, and we laughed.

Those are the things I notice when I stop. Stopping allows a friend to approach me and stopping allows for more than the shallow, “how are you?” to pass from our lips expecting nothing more than a, “fine, thank you,” from the person (and in fact, wanting nothing more than a, “fine, thank you.” ).  The stopping allows for prayer. It allows for so much more richness in our lives than what we presently allow. It allows room for God to grow in us through His Word. But we have to practice stopping.

Outside our personal space there exists a whole world. Beyond the everyday lunches, school work, the soccer schedules, the quiet afternoons, the family squabbles, the gossip, the neighbors annoying cat, and the barking dog are the people God loves who don’t know Him. They buy into false doctrine. They continue to believe things that don’t jive with the Bible. They live every day making concessions to sin, believing even that they aren’t worthy of God’s love or forgiveness. That’s the world we need to practice stopping for and continue to show them that they are worthy if they only believe in the man who walked willingly to the cross. Believing in Him is so much more than a rock ‘n roll-like Christian culture; it’s living in the everyday working with calloused hands and not flinching at the broken pasts or the bleeding scars.

Do you stop? What do you notice when you stop?

in the practice of stopping

by Nikole Hahn time to read: 2 min