Wide Open Spaces


I brushed my hair behind my ear and placed my hands on my hips, surveying the closet full of old childhood memories.  And as I began to envision the kind of house I want to have after my wedding in December, compulsion wrecked me.  I don’t want anything that doesn’t have purpose.  I want minimalism.  The whole closet needed to be gone through and I couldn’t sleep until it was sorted and tidied.  I looked at the clock on the wall, 2:30 in the morning and my bed was still made.  I don’t know why it is so hard for me to just be, to accept the messy closets, to close the doors and rest, except that maybe it has to do with what is in those quiet, blank moments.  That’s when my mind races, fills up with all the “what ifs,” imperfections and out-of-control moments.  I guess I am seeking to control what little I can in the face of a life that is so outside of my control.

And I’m tired.  I want to be comfortable with the still moments, the empty page before the first chapter begins, the little inhale before the plunge.  I want to be comfortable with those places, the places the sky meets the ocean on one of those cloudy days when the entire horizon is one mess of steely grey.  I want to be okay with the days where I don’t feel anything, where I don’t feel mountaintop but I don’t feel valley, when I’m not quite sad but not exactly happy, the days where I just am.  The days where my writing feels dry and dusty, mundane and human.

I wonder what it would look like to embrace the wildness of wide open spaces, the spaces where I cannot touch or taste, the spaces where I feel lost and vulnerable, where I am half in and half out, where I cannot quite make the connection, the spaces where tension seems to hold me, the still spaces, the spaces where imagination fails, the sweet moments, the human moments, when I hesitate to talk and to come out of that weird place, to break the magic, the limit-filled spaces, the beyond spaces where everything must be handled with grave delicacy, the strange spaces between word and thing, the spaces where art fails to see and shape, the misery and splendor of those spaces, those places, those blank pages.

Those are the blank pages I want to embrace, bones and all.  I want to embrace the wide open, exposed, transparent places where the stirring up inside of me makes me want to make it, the intoxication of trying.  Those are the places I want to go into, to go deep with, to see through and to lean on.  I want to come undone, to stall out, to find the charged awareness of what it is like to be human, to feel that vibrant vertigo.

Because it’s those places where I am fearless if I am prayerful, if I meet those empty moments with the continuous voice of the One who crafted it.  It’s in those places where prayer is the default posture and worry is not, where prayer banishes fear and the need to be in control, where even the question of identity, the question I have heavily wrestled with in the last year flees because it is simply trusted, with open hands, to the God who ordains all.  It’s those places where I have to keep pressing, keep writing despite the fear holding me back.  It’s those places where I must press into my calling.  Because it’s those places where I feel newly alive.  It’s those places where God meets me, where He whispers into my soul, “now, watch for the good stuff.”