The Space Between the Words

“The spirit lives in the space between the words. The danger in becoming too wordy is that we miss the space between the words” (Macrina Wiederkehr, Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day).

I often think about something I learned in one of my advertising classes at Union University. The key when you’re creating an ad is not to cram in as many words and images as possible onto a flyer or a brochure. People would be overwhelmed by all the information hitting them all at once, and thus be highly unlikely to actually read the ad.

White space in an ad is extremely important in allowing the eye to rest and emphasizing the words and images.

Most of us live our lives at such a frenetic pace, trying to fill every possible space with words and activity and doing. No wonder so many of us feel like we’re running in place, exerting a great deal of energy but not really moving any place.

It’s vitally important to create margins in our lives. Those are the white spaces where we find rest. It’s also crucial to embrace silence and stillness not as enemies of our productivity but as allies in our quest to work and play smarter and not just harder.

How can any of us hear God speak if we leave no space between our words and our deeds? How can any of us grow into the grace of God apart from margins and boundaries?

No one naturally gravitates toward silence and stillness. Most of us will, left to our own devices, trend toward the tyranny of the urgent instead of nurturing and caring for what is most important– our communion with our Maker.

“When all the sheep have been gathered, [The Good Shepherd] walks on ahead of them; and they follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:4, The Voice).


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