For some widows, the idea of taking time out for oneself brings up dreaded thoughts of being alone.  I for one, am the opposite.  I’ve always enjoyed being alone with my thoughts and energy to reflect and ponder.  Even as a child, I’d spend lots of time away from others, either writing in my diary (my deepest thoughts) or sketching on my little notepad, while looking out the bedroom window admiring the big, brown oak tree growing in our family’s yard.

As I’ve grown into a mature woman, I still relish quiet time alone.  Time to sort things out and even rejuvenate from life’s hectic pace.  And I’ll be honest. Over the past few months, I’m finding myself much too busy and I also discovered I don’t like the energy, the hustle and bustle of my life.  I’m finding out I need more time to shut down the world and enter into a time of purposed pause.

The work I’m involved with now (running a faith-based nonprofit), requires a lot of my mental, physical and emotional time.  I am the sole employee with the responsibilities for fund development, recruiting volunteers and students, plus all the administrative duties.  And. I’m tired.   I came to this revelation last month and decided I needed to ask for help.  Someone to take on the administrative duties, even if it’s a contractual relationship.

Now, as a widow of 6 years, I have also realized I need to take more chunks of time for me.  Not just those short one or two hours of time (like naps), but large chunks of time away.  Mentally and maybe even physically away.  I must grant myself that time and space of 3 to 5 days of pressing the pause button.  Turning off the phone (or at least silencing it), the television, and even sometimes turning off my comforting music- to just be.

I realize my pause it won’t be popular with others and might make me vulnerable, as my “pause” will remove that “strong-woman label” given to me by well-meaning friends.  But I really can’t care what others think about me resting or taking time out for the benefit of my growth and health.

I don’t want to become addicted to performance.  Where my value as a woman, as a contributor to the world is tied into all that I can accomplish daily.  I also don’t want to be that driven person that people celebrate and receive accolades from others when I share how much stuff I crammed into a day!  Performance addiction will cause us to define ourselves by what we do, how much we can do, and how successful we can be at doing it.

Stop!! I’m pressing pause.  And relearning how to just be.  To sit with myself, my thoughts, my tears, my grief.  To remember what it is like to be present in the moment, to deal with my brokenness and pain and not focus on the demands of life.

In the end, I believe I’ll be able to better serve others and myself because I’ll be sharing and giving from a filled, restful existence instead of a stressed, hurried and anxious place.  In the next months, I plan to be more intentional about being faithful about rest.  Mental rest.  Seeking out creative thoughts that spark creative energy.  Seeking more physical rest- longer naps and days away from all the electronic gadgets that keep me plugged in.   Less caffeine, less news (I love a good newspaper!), and less interactions with anxiety-filled people that constantly drain me with their problems.

Pressing the pause button will help me move past being “busy for the sake of busy.”   I invite you to find your pause button and reallocate sacred, well deserved, precious time that’s yours for the taking. WE may find one of the best ways to heal our wounded hearts is with rest.

Press your pause.



Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.