We live in a busy world. It is a world of mass media 24/7, a world of technology from Facebook to Twitter and the constant texting via cell phone, a world of heavy schedules that include not only our work, but the constant sports events and other entertainment that have become central to our living. Parents keep their children on the same kind of schedule, a full day at school and then the various after-school events from karate to baseball practice. There is little space for the “Me” within us.
I’m sitting with my friend of the written word, Howard Thurman, this morning. He speaks to me of his youth:
|An Oak and a Country Road in Wales|
“When the storms blew, the branches of the large oak tree in our backyard would snap and fall. But the topmost branches of the oak tree would sway, giving way just enough to save themselves from snapping loose. I needed the strength of that tree, and, like it, I wanted to hold my ground. Eventually, I discovered that the oak tree and I had a unique relationship. I could sit, my back against its trunk, and feel the same peace that would come to me in my bed at night. I could reach down in the quiet places of my spirit, take out my bruises and my joys, unfold them, and talk about them. I could talk aloud to the oak tree and know that I was understood. It, too, was a part of my reality, like the woods, the night, and the pounding surf, my earliest companions, giving me space.”
When I was young I had a similar place that gave me space. Sitting on a log that had fallen across the water bubbling out of the springhouse, I would, like Thurman, “reach down in the quiet places…take out my bruises and my joys…unfold them, and talk about them.” I felt I was heard by the frogs, the watercress, and the whirly jigs that skated across the water, and the sun that warmed all of these and me. The surroundings gave me needed space to be heard, to be strengthened, to be renewed, to talk things through. Where do we go now—where are we finding and getting our space?