Tuesday, 28 June 2011

the gift of emptiness

I don't know if I fully expressed how happy it makes me to see emptiness in our house: empty shelves, an empty closet. And to have newness fill it up. Very content.

how do I love thee, empty shelves?
let me count the ways...
In Gretchen Rubin's year-long Happiness Project, she spends a month focusing on boosting vitality, and de-cluttering is part of that. Her friend had told her that she always keeps one shelf empty. Rubin writes "an empty shelf meant possibility; space to expand; a luxurious waste of something useful for the sheer elegance of it."

We sang a song at church on Sunday morning called "God, fill me now." I had never heard it before, and I was especially attentive because it spoke of emptiness - something I had worked to create over the past week. Here's the chorus:

Here before you now; 
see, my hands are empty.
God, fill me now with you.


It made me think about the gift of emptiness. How we experience times of emptiness that can feel sorrowful and sad. But how we can also empty ourselves so that we can re-boot, be refreshed, and start over again. The second is the kind I crave.

Sometimes I fear emptiness. So I fill it. I fill my time and I fill my space because what would I do if the fullness weren't there?

But right now I don't fear emptiness - I welcome it. I recall other times when I've felt empty in a positive way - my mind is clear, I'm open, I'm empty and ready to be filled with grace and peace and a big dose of love. And then ready to give it away, only to be hopefully filled once again.

"We cannot let another person into our hearts or minds unless we empty ourselves. 
We can truly listen to him or truly hear her only out of emptiness." 
- M. Scott Peck

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