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Space. That's what this photo makes me ponder.

I love to leave blank space in photos. It allows the eye to rest and feel at peace before the eye explores the corners. The space also begs to be filled. It is so hard to resist pulling this image into Photoshop to think up the perfect words of the moment to fill that space. It is an analogy of our lives that I've been thinking about for a few months now.

My Bible study small group has been discussing the word analogy a lot and I had said to them that I see analogies in the world all the time. It is just the way my over-thinking brain works. I used to years ago post "garden analogies" on a regular basis. I think I could create a book of them.

And here we have the analogy of space in my garden. Space is necessary in life. We all need our own little space. Some of us are in the habit of "making space" and some of us are in the habit of "filling space." I love to create space and my husband loves to fill it. I declutter and he clutters. For instance, we recently cleaned the basement and I loved the open floor space, to which he quickly scattered all of the laundry baskets across to fill it. Why? I had purpose in where those baskets were located very convenient to loading the washing machine. Why would I want to walk across the room to work with them? I do not understand why filling space trumps convenience. Some people just have to fill spaces.

Just last week we took out a rose bush to create a space for me to be creative in planting new flowers. I love change and new vignettes. I make space to develop something new. I notice in my pondering that I use the word "create" a lot when thinking of space. I either create blank spaces to find rest and calmness in or I create in those blank spaces something new. Rarely is my filling of space for the purpose of anything other than creating something to appreciate. Some fill just to fill and take up space and others fill to bring something new into existence. It baffles me when folks fill space just to fill it because it creates chaos which to me is quite the opposite of calming and peaceful. Maybe they thrive on randomness and disorder. There are those people who find comfort in being claustrophobic, making their space confined and cozy. How can they find anything in that randomness?

So here I sit on a beautiful gorgeous day wanting desperately to fill my space in time with hiking, camping, river wallowing, or other camera-ready opportunities. I sit outdoors on my patio just to be outdoors, without funds to travel. I am choosing to enjoy the space I have created with the view of my garden. It is truly lovely.

I have today resisted and said "no" to filling the space of my time with wish list things to do and am instead sitting here writing this little stream of thoughts. I have today resisted and said "no" to filling that photo with text. Am I really more just like "them" than I realize? By "them," I mean the "fillers of space" people. I have to work hard to resist the urge to fill space.

Then I think about other kinds of spaces, such as the one that sound creates or the lack thereof. I love to create quiet spaces. Hubby loves to fill quiet spaces with his voice. He has been working hard in recognizing my need for quiet spaces, but it is a great effort for him. When I am reading a book or working on my laptop in quiet, it does not mean that you can fill my space with chatter. Every few minutes.

Sometimes I like to fill my space with music. Sometimes I like to just listen to what nature provides with the birds chirping or the rustling wind. Let's all try to recognize each other's needs for the wavelengths of the ears and respect the same. I have learned that in some tea ceremonies the host is careful not to clank the teapots or the glasses as a gesture of respect to the person they are serving. I like that a lot. It is a gesture that can be spilled over into every day life in everything we do. How am I affecting the space of others? Do I enhance their space? Do I make space for them? Do I invade their space? What kind of space do they like and am I respecting it or am I being a nuisance?

We are all given a space in this world. What are we going to do with it? As we move, our space moves with us. I may have a space at the table of a restaurant. I may have a space in the seat of a car. I may have a space at work. I may have a space on a blanket at the park. Spaces are always temporary. Some are more temporary than others. Some spaces we stay a while and some spaces we enjoy for just a little time. All of these spaces are gifts from God. There is the old cliche of "you cannot take it with you." So consider your spaces and how you can appreciate the little things within them. I must be a good steward of the space that God gives me while I am here on earth. It is okay to be that claustrophobic space filler just as much as it is to be that minimalist declutterer. Choose to do with your space what you enjoy.

August 6, 2022


Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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