To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.
Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage
Why am I craving white space? It’s not simply for quiet or rest, though I get those beauties first when I calm down the voices of politics, magazines, social media, traffic, busyness and my own ego. I am also looking for what white space invites once carved into my life.
I am looking for wholeness, for integration of my dissonant parts, body and soul, heart and mind, goals and longings, me and my savior. I was lost and now am found, once and for all by Jesus. But I find for my part my heart can still be lost and must be found again everyday and returned to her rightful owner.
Fast and furious makes my parts frayed and fractured. I am looking to mend the edges and restore the center.
About a month ago, I caught a glimpse of a brown rabbit in my patio garden. I was sitting at my dining room table reading my bible in the faint early morning light. I read every morning, but maybe today the light was brighter or I was more still. Normally when I see a little movement in the dirt, brown against brown, it is a bird pecking at the ground in the shade of the Knock-Out rose standards, bright pink blooms above. But on this morning, the movement was a bit bigger. A small brown rabbit hopped into my view at the big bay window. As soon as I saw him, he was gone under cover of a thick bunch of grasses and shrubs.
Today the brown bunny returned. I sat still for a moment and just enjoyed the surprise. His fur is bunchy and speckled in precisely the shades of the soil, rock wall, concrete patio and river rock edge. He wrinkled his nose at a few rocks and roots. As careful as I was to reach for my camera, he ducked fast as lightning back under the fence.
I feel he will be back and this time, I won’t try to get a photo. He is wild and elusive and fascinating to observe. I have lived here ten years and have never seen him, so seeing him is rare and special. Or is it? I wonder how long he has been visiting my garden, but I was too busy, or moving too fast to see him. There might not have been enough stillness or silence for him to venture out.
I think my soul might be like this rabbit, wild, shy, elusive, camouflaged, fascinating and easily spooked.
The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting and trustworthy conditions.
I want to see that bunny up close, to see her speckles and markings, her fine twitching whiskers, her hoppity habits, what she eats and when she comes out to explore and play. I wonder where she lives? I don’t want to capture her or tame her. I want her to stay wild and free. I suppose I will have to keep showing up in the early mornings, sitting still, being quiet, watching, listening and expecting.
I want to create that sort of space for my soul to speak, an inner landscape that is quiet, yearning, trustworthy, inviting, vulnerable, true and brave. Above all, surrendered to Jesus. And when my soul speaks, if I am hushed, I will hear what she has to say.
I hope to learn a few things; deep, precious, gritty, soulful, timeless, Jesus things. I realize it will take time, showing up every morning with my bible and my heart open, taking a walk, noticing the sky and asking God to help me recognize him throughout my day. Christ will be there when my soul ventures out of the woods. I have invited him.
I am laying out the welcome mat and leaving the porch light on. I am listening for his footfall and trying to keep my heart and soul roomy enough to have him come home.
I do this for my family, leave the porch light on until everyone's home so they know I was waiting for them. They have learned to do it for me too. I always smile if I come around the corner, the last one home, and see the porch light shining. I know I am expected.
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;
and My Father will love him,
and We will come to him
and make Our home with him.
I want to know Jesus and he wants to know me as my life unfolds on this big blue marble. Together we will see if my soul is empty or full, humble or judgmental, wise or foolish, parched or brimming over to offer a cup to another. He will help me recognize my soul and turn it into a song. Mine will be a bluegrass song. Harmonica please.
After all, God handcrafted me, body, mind, soul and spirit. Each part to serve him in Terriness; red hair, freckles and blue eyes; focused, fast-moving and studious; home-loving, creative and stubborn; teacher, encourager and shepherd.
I am his and he will use me to love others. Terri, but filled with his love.
Here is a poem of “I am . . .” to help see just how God designed me and perhaps the unique ways he will use me.
I am Terri
I am flight.
I am apples.
I am penny hair.
I am burlap and iron.
I am breath and bone, broken and bleached white by the sun.
I am a traveller who loves home.
I am dipped in silver.
I am a mercury sky.
I am a wooly caterpillar in a weeping willow tree in Rainy’s front yard in New Orleans.
I am a geode heart.
I am Tinsley, Crump, McGee, Mixon, and Kendrick. Now Conlin.
I am a white pitcher filling up and pouring out wisdom, laughter and poetry.
I am a Mason jar; simple, plain and see-through goodness, a holder of hearts.
Do you know your gifts and quirks?
Do you know a job you were made for you when it comes along?
What is your “I am “ poem? Write it and see.
In the meantime, roll out the welcome mat and leave the porch light on.