How full is your life right now?
Is it really full? Over capacity? “Holy crap, if I say yes to one more thing I may run away from home to become the most boring legal secretary ever” full? (Sorry about that last one. It’s an homage to Anne Tyler’s The Ladder of Years.)
I think many of us could use a little more space in our lives.
I was re-reading Tony Jones’ The Sacred Way, and he talked about spiritual disciplines being basically the practice of making space in your life for God to do something unplanned and unexpected.
One problem with modern life is that our lives become like a Tetris screen (or Bust-A-Move, for those who grew up on Playstation rather than Nintendo.)
It fills up fast, as if some unseen source is pouring more To-Dos into it from above.
Partly, that’s our culture. Cultures often have a distinct personality type, just like individuals, and America is a very enneagram Three culture. So we tend to turn everything into a contest. We are ill at ease with things like being, observing, and waiting. We fear the empty spaces in our day planners. Actually, among the professional crowd I run with, we fear not having the latest electronic device almost as much as we fear having an empty block on its calendar application.
Even if you’re not a Three, especially in the workplace, it’s hard not to get pulled into that “you’re only as important as you’re overbooked” mindset.
It’s a mindset that’s a trap, though. We need those empty spaces. Our brains and souls need room to breathe. We need to leave some space in our lives for the unplanned and unexpected, or we rob ourselves of the opportunity to experience surprise and delight.
My youngest sister called me last week unexpectedly. She telecommutes full-time, while staying home with her two toddlers, and I think she’s going a little stir crazy. This has not, in all likelihood, been helped by me calling her and telling her about my recent travels to some pretty cool destinations like Vegas and Daytona Beach, Florida.
So she decided to go on a “just for fun and because I’ve never been there before” trip, and to invite me and our middle sister along. I was delighted (as was middle sister Jen, who could also use a break from excess Momosity.)
While we’re planning on hitting certain sights, I hope we leave a little room for some planned randomness.
Creating that space in your life is an invitation. Who knows what might come along and take you up on it?
Can you remember a time when your life had a little more empty space? What was that like? Feel free to drop your story in the comments.