I didn’t know I needed it – I honestly didn’t even know what it was.
When I heard Bonnie tell her story one Sunday morning at church, I was moved to tears. She stood there raw, crying — trying to choke out the words on the page in her hand. Oh, how I’ve been there! I did the same thing a couple of years ago. Standing in front of a room full of people telling my story. A story I carried with me that needed to be released, shared, exposed to light.
After the service was over and the room started to clear out, I found Bonnie. I had to cry with her. I had to tell her that I “get it”. Although our stories weren’t exactly the same, I too had carried a heavy load and I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone — she was brave and courageous for sharing.
I was brave and courageous.
Or so I thought.
When Bonnie finished writing her book, I was excited for her. For her — a dream come true! I stood with her one evening, right before the cover art had been finalized, and listened to her share with me a piece of the journey the writing of this book led her on.
It kept coming up.
As an artist, I knew I should get it. I sort of did. I mean, I have an understanding of the importance of “negative space” in a piece of art. A painting, a photograph, a design layout. The space that allows your eye to rest so you can focus on the subject matter of the piece. The area that the artist feels is most important.
But, what did that have to do with me? As a person. What did it have to do with her? And her journey.
As she continued to speak, I heard the excitement rise up in her voice and saw an undeniable sparkle in her eye. I needed to find out. I needed to know what was written in those pages — the pages that she had pored over for three years so she could share her story. I needed to know what this whitespace was.
I opened up her book and began to read:
“Spiritual whitespace makes room — room in our hearts for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, room in our lives for rest, room in our souls for rejuvenation.
This hunger for beauty, for space for the soul to breathe, resides within each of us.
My story is really every woman’s story. Because every woman has felt burned out and tired. Every woman longs to dream, to feed her soul and rest.
Everyone longs to move beyond coping and surviving.
Yet we often put ourselves to the side, numbing the stillness by doing rather than by becoming vulnerable and real.” (pg. 21)
And that’s when I realized I was not brave and courageous like I thought I had been.
Yes, I had shared my story to that room full of people years ago, but, simply put, I was numb — busying myself so I didn’t have to think about the past anymore. I thought I had brought everything to the light. What more could there be?
I was beginning to realize it was time for me to move beyond numbness by making room. Room for spiritual whitespace.
“When we make room for spiritual whitespace, we step into the beautiful journey of letting go to discover what’s really worth holding onto.” (pg. 21-22)
It was time for me to begin my journey of letting go. It was time to become vulnerable and real.
It was time for whitespace.