white space gives
There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
Oh, I hope during our month together carving white space out of a busy life to get in touch with our souls, that we have not fallen into one short-sighted mistake; only grabbing time for ourselves. Remember one of the things that white space is not is selfish.
It can seem like that at first, while we are clearing the decks and saying our no’s. Remember we are subtracting the obvious. We will always need that sparse terrain of subtraction in our lives for the world will continue to call and compete with our sacred white space. And we are easily fooled as to the song of our souls.
But we subtracted so we could add, not more obvious, but more meaning. Please remind me! While I make a clearing where the world cannot take over, my soul is planted by the wild river of Life and I will share it.
It might seem ironic that clearing out our lives does not make our souls more scarce, but more generous. When we are still enough under God’s wing, we can notice more, listen more, connect more and give more, more fully. There is actually a better portion of us to give because we have sifted through the piles of noise, striving and fears and set our hearts on the One who calls us Beloved.
In college, I took a few Landscape Architecture classes. We learned the basics of contour mapping. We were taught about proper road grading and land contours to shed water away from the building or the driving surface. There is an art to reshaping land contours around a tree. The roots cannot be exposed to thin air or piled high in layers of dirt. The root system at original grade which forms a circle the size of its drip line needs protection. That is why you will see temporary fencing around trees on construction sites. Beyond the tree's canopy, you can carve out the land with a retaining wall in a stepped terrace or a tree well, but neglect the root system and the tree will not survive construction.
When I carve out white space in my life, I can see my soul shape a bit more clearly. Like a tree planted by streams, this re-grading of my life allows my roots to thrive, neither too exposed nor too covered up. If I am rooted in Christ, I can be more fully available for community. Then my canopy can be leafy and full, a shelter for my friends and family. My branches can hold rope swings, birds and songs, even sad ones for awhile.
So gather your silence, solitude, slowed down, listening, paying attention, God-shaped soul and go give it away as only you can in all of your beloved you-ness. The rooted-in-Christ you will figure out just how and where to give. Start with a small seed. Start with your own family and move out to bless the world from there.
White space for soul keeping makes us more generous.