Purpose in the Pause: Life Lessons from Granny's Kitchen
"Get somewhere and sit down."
If you grew up in the South, this phrase is permanently etched into your childhood memories. Six simple words, but you knew EXACTLY what they meant. Depending on the tone of voice of the person who said it, you might feel emotions varying anywhere from mild caution to sheer terror. That one phrase could assume a plethora of meanings and depending on the situation, you'd better hope you knew which one.
"Stop making all that noise! Stop horse-playing. Stop running in this house! My patience is running thin with y'all. This is your final warning! If I have to come in there, y'all gonna be sorry! Don't y'all embarrass me in front of people (if in public). Get your behind in that chair and don't you move!"
In essence: Just stop and be still.
When all the grand kids piled over to granny's house for the weekend, sleeping bags and pillows in hand, there were certain things we knew we could count on: There would be a hefty supply of snacks to devour that mama wouldn't let us have at home.
We'd spend most of the weekend running around and playing outside cuz granny didn't believe in kids running in and out of the house all day.
We would need those sleeping bags and every other extra blanket from the hall linen closet because granny's thermostat never went above 68 degrees.
We'd make fried bologna sandwiches with crisp, buttery outsides and gooey, melty, heavily- processed cheese sliced fresh from that huge block of questionable origin.
If you lingered around long enough after Granny asked you to bring her a Coke from the "icebox," she would most likely let you have the last sip as long as you were discreet about it and didn't go parading the empty can around to the others.
You'd be allowed to enter the living room if you sat quietly and listened to her recap the entire week on "the stories" and how Victor Newman from the Young and the Restless never aged and was the finest man on the planet.
Annnnnd undoubtedly, you would hear "Y'all get somewhere and sit down!" more times than you could count.
Because granny was known to sit in her favorite chair in the living room and gaze out of the glass door for hours at a time, with a Coke in hand, of course. There was a sense of peaceful contentment about it that you could never quite put into words. She'd sit there and watch the cars drive by and the kids run around in the yard, occasionally getting up from her chair to scold us for pulling the flowers off of her prized (read: deadly) rose bushes. And then she'd go right back to sitting.
The more I live and work and experience the world, the more I'm finally able to comprehend the infinite wisdom all wrapped up and tucked away inside those words of hers.
"Get somewhere and sit down."
Like some all- encompassing permission slip telling you it's okay to sit. To be still. To pause. To reflect. To let your mind wander for a bit. To not always be busy. To take a break. Heck, to have a Coke (or two).
I couldn't understand it then, but I get it now. You'll always have opportunities to be busy. There will always be tasks needing to be done. Obligations will always be competing for your attention. But there is virtue to be found in stillness. In those quiet moments. In unplugging for a while. In that sacred space of mindfulness.
I'm convinced that granny did some of her best thinking in that living room chair watching the grass grow or the rain fall. Maybe that's where God revealed to her all the nuggets of wisdom she passed down to the rest of us. Maybe that's where she came up with some of her best recipes, too.
Either way, I'm grateful for the time she spent in that chair. I'm learning to appreciate that there is "Purpose in the Pause." And now I'm taking advantage of every opportunity to "get somewhere and sit down."
Wanna join me? I've got an extra Coke over here with your name on it.