I’m learning about white space this year. Margin you might call it. Or rest. But I’m still learning to love that word. I’ve said, “No” to four things already this year. Four. I’m pretty sure that’s more than I said, “No” to all 365 days of 2013. For a people-pleasing, over-achieving, extrovert this is no small accomplishment. I like to say, “Yes” because I want you to like me. Because this might be the opportunity that changes everything. Because I don’t want to miss the inside joke.
I learned an important lesson during my marathon training. Rest days are just as important as running days. You can’t have all rest with no running, but you also can’t have all running with no rest. Ironically, it was on a run that I realized how much “running” I had been doing in the rest of my life. The calendar was jam-packed. I was dragging the girls from one place to another. We ate pizza for dinner more nights than I would like to admit. As I ran that morning, I realized I had to slow down. We were coming upon Advent and I wanted Christmas to be different this year. At the end of my run, I texted my three girlfriends and told them I had to bail out of something I had told them I could do. They were incredibly understanding and before our conversation was over we decided to remove another thing off our calendars too. Margin. White Space. Rest.
During all this, I started thinking about my word for 2014. One word beckoned me, like a quilt that’s just been pulled from the dryer… Behold. To truly see all that God is doing in my midst. To learn to be still and hold on. To treasure the fleeting gifts all around me. I had let life become a blur, and I couldn’t even see the gifts around me because I was so exhausted and emotional from the frenetic pace I had us running. I realized one of my most significant roles as wife and mom is to set the pace for our family, and it was time for me to dial it down. I went back to my What Matters Most List and started using it to say, “No” to good things so I could say, “Yes” to the best things. This will be a journey, a bumpy one I imagine. But it is one I must take.
Living mindfully is the art of living awake and ready to embrace the gift of the present moment. Macrina Wiederkehr
A couple months ago, Matt and I were hanging a picture in our bathroom. The piece was a set of photographs Matt had taken in high school for an art class. Matt took dozens of photographs in high school for his art and photography classes, and they’re all framed the exact same way, simple black frame and a thick white mat. When you add a mat around a picture, the blank space draws the viewer’s attention to the art it holds. The white space creates a pause, a rest for the eye, so you can truly see and appreciate the art. So you can behold.