“You need a time out!” shouts the mother to the toddler with the temper tantrum.
“TIME OUT!” calls the coach as he gathers his players into a huddle to discuss the next play.
“I need time out of this rat race,” laments the single parent with three kids and two jobs.
What does “time out” mean to you? I suspect, if you are like me, it means different things at different points in your life. When we are that toddler, “time outs” were meant as cooling down periods or, maybe, punishment (although I often think parents put kids in time out just so they don’t throw their own temper tantrum). When a coach calls a “TIME OUT!” it’s usually to focus the team and redirect it toward some goal. And who hasn’t been frazzled beyond reason by the business of 21st century responsibilities?
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and forces you into “time out” whether you want it or not. It could be the loss of a loved one which paralyzes you where you are. It could be the loss of a job or a livelihood due to economic issues. Sometimes it is illness or injury which sidelines you into “time out”. Whatever the reason, take it as a blessing.
Yes, I said blessing.
“Time outs” give us a chance to see things from a different perspective. They give us time to evaluate where we are, where we are going, and what’s important. Like the player on the team, having a “time out” gives us a chance to catch our breath and “hear” what is in store for us from a higher power if we take the time to listen. I think, sometimes, we are even like that child with the temper tantrum. Often when we are that angry, that upset, life forces a “time out” on us. How we use it to refocus ourselves for the next chapter in our lives is what matters. Take the time. Do the work to know what matters to you. In the end, you will find you needed that “time out” whether you wanted it or not.