“In art, whitespace is often referred to as ‘negative space.’ It’s the space on the page absent of marks or images. We might consider the space as ‘blank,’ but to the artist, whitespace holds beauty…. Making room for spiritual whitespace takes us on a journey to awaken our hearts to God again. To investigate. To ask ourselves: Where is the attraction that once drew me into the safety, pleasure, and freedom of being with Jesus? And how can I find those places – those whitespaces in me – again? Making room for whitespace means taking the journey to confide in Jesus the way we would if he were standing right here in front of us.”
(Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray)
As I read that last sentence, I looked up from the book and thought, “what if Jesus were sitting in a chair right across from me?” Sobs welled up and poured out. The very thought of Jesus being in the room, sitting quietly, and waiting to listen was overwhelming. I whispered to Him:
I wanted Mossy to stay with me
I wanted to be able to raise him
This isn’t where I thought I’d be
I know there is great potential in these 2 jobs but I don’t know how to even get started
I can’t do this alone
I need you to unfold it
Calm. Still teary eyed, but breathing.
I haven’t written much in the last four years of raising Mossy. Being a single mom was really hard. Still, I have no regrets. I know that God poured into both of us. I was able to give a boy a home, a sense of family, a sense of belonging. Our original bond was strengthened and he knows I am here (even if all he wants in the moment is my password so he can download a new game onto his iPhone). He calls. He tells me what he’s upset about, and tells me what he likes. Our relationship is still there, it just functions differently.
In some ways, the last four years broke me and rebuilt me. I’m not so self-sufficient and proud. I’m a little less of a people pleaser and don’t get quite as crippled by the fear of what others think of me. I’m bolder and braver. I have compassion for others in a way I never did before.
Those ponderings are all true of what I think and know in my head, but my heart is another issue all together. I don’t know what to do in this season of transition and grieving. Some days, I’m full of energy, ready to start making business contacts or plan a day long hike with a friend. When I have a plan or a job to do for someone, I’m able to coast on the surface and be my usual bubbly self. But on the days or evenings when I don’t have any commitments, I fall apart. That’s when the loneliness grips me. Sometimes I can’t even breathe. In those moments, hope seems very far away.
A dear friend was sharing her readings about Advent and the waiting for the Messiah. We are so consumed with our modern traditions and festivities of Christmas, that we often forget that the Israelites were waiting in silence for 400 years. They were waiting for a rescuer, the Messiah, a promised one. Part of the Advent season is remembering the wait.
I’m terrible at waiting. When I get someone a gift I know they’ll love, I give it to them early. When I have to wait too long in line, I get annoyed. Sitting in traffic on the loop around the city? Oh, don’t even go there!
Here I am in a time of waiting and it’s killing me, but I think it’s what God wants to use to pull me in close. The Israelites were still living while they waited. I don’t mean that waiting is sitting and doing nothing. So I’m working – creating a business plan and doing side jobs. But I’m waiting – waiting for a time that doesn’t feel so lonely. Waiting for the pain to dull a bit. Waiting for Mossy to be placed in a program and school that is going to help him. Waiting for Spring so I can backpack again!
I’m too unsettled to sit and be quiet and listen to what God wants to say. And, this, I think is the point, but I don’t really know how to go there.
Instead of Merry Christmas, I’ll say… May you find HIM wherever you are this Christmas season, and may HE be enough. May he be Emmanuel – God with you.
The prophet Isaiah (9:6) wrote- “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
And then they waited 745 years, but it was worth the wait.