Wednesday, February 11, 2015

white space

My brain is tired. I'm beginning to think it will soon function only in necessity and without any creative energy whatsoever.  One of the reasons I didn't think the trip down to Mississippi would be a good idea for me last week was this failure in concentration.  People talk.  I stare.  Sometimes a little blankly.  I can't seem to retain focus. This pregnancy is eating away at my mental energy, and I seem to need a lot of white space these days.  White space meaning a sort of mental pause, kind of like the "Selah"of the Psalmist or the breath in music.

Obviously, that's not always the best kind of material to blog from, hence perpetual pictures of my children:)  

I am noticing though that now that our pace is slower, there is this gap from the past three years that is opening wider to me.  There is a lot more white space in America than there is in my life in South Asia. The people are fewer.  Land is bigger. Parks are more common.  Distance between strangers is greater.  I have missed it.  My brain has missed it.  The ability to separate and step back is, particularly for my personality, a gift.  Living closely in a communal culture largely diminishes white space.

I remember the first day I took the kids to the playground here.  No one talked to me.  No one stared. I had to offer no explanation of myself or define my relationship to the place. In fact, we were alone most of the time. Silas, my little extrovert, seems to feel lonely.  I feel amazed, grateful, refreshed.

People ask me sometimes what I missed most.  The more I've considered it, the more realize it wasn't the food or the conveniences or even the ability to communicate.  Apart from family, which was very primary, it was the white space.  More than I want any food or fun, I have been craving open spaces with wide tree lines, big pieces of sky and quiet.

I sat on a hill in Shelby Farms on Saturday in tears because they are renovating Patriot Lake.  While I am so glad all the progress is moving along in the city, and a big park is expanding is bigger ways, I wanted to come home and find it the same.  For three years, whenever I felt overwhelmed with the towering concrete buildings and masses of people, I would picture myself sitting on that green rolling hill overlooking the lake with deep blue behind it.  It's plowed up right now, in the midst of progress.  So I turned my back and found another hill, a smaller pond, but still a tree line and blue sky with no concrete buildings in the background.  The solitude of the natural is white space for me.  I like what God made better than what anyone else has ever created.

I've been thinking some about heaven lately.  The way that a God who made this beautiful earth must craft that place.  Not the way we frail, gaudy mortals craft cities and countries, filling them up with "finery." His creative creation is superior in every way.  Whenever I look across an open land, I know it in my depth.

So while I wait for my brain functions to resume, I'm remembering that springtime is about to waken in the South. If God gives me days, I will be here this year to watch the dogwoods bloom and the bare trees dress and the hills roll with green again.  I am so glad to be here, where land unfolds more readily.

It's like white space for my soul. 


Katharine said...

I relate to this. I don't live in a foreign country but sometimes the people feel very foreign to me. Then the buildings and the people and the pace can be very overwhelming. . . and I am an extrovert! I can't imagine how difficult the last 3 years has been for you! I pray you get that needed down time!

Crosby International said...

Ha, ha! I love this post! Mostly, because I so understand it! I felt like writing a blog post this week beginning with "My mind is mush" but then I couldn't think of anything else I would say on the matter!! And if you have seen my blog lately, it's almost entirely kid pictures!! Maybe one day our brains will return to fully functioning. Or at least somewhat functioning...