May 21, 2020
“Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.” Simone Weil, Love in the Void: Where God Finds Us (1909-1943)
As news of my upcoming retirement from Anam Cara Connections circulates, I realize that I have taken a conscious dive into The Void. It’s that often disparaged space between the past and the future. What a minister friend calls “living in the leap.” She describes an aerial artist’s moment of hovering between letting go of one swinging bar before making contact with another bar or person. I may want to watch this, but I certainly don’t feel called to do it.
Better said, writer Thomas Moore has named this the Pregnant Void, meaning that it can be a very rich time, and not just for me. We are all currently dwelling in The Void caused by the pandemic. Life before the virus. Life after the virus. In between is The Void. We can’t go back to the lifestyles we enjoyed before the pandemic and yet we are advised not to move forward too quickly. It makes sense that the Latin root of the word void is, “to be empty.”
When I see that something is empty, I have the urge to fill it. When the empty warning light comes on in my car, I have the thank filled. When my water glass is empty, I re-fill it. Could this be the root of the over-indulging many of us have been doing while in isolation? Trying to fill a void we can’t quite name? I know I certainly have. There are Milk Duds in my office drawer, potato chips in the kitchen, ice cream in the freezer—all just in case I let that empty feeling in. Shhh….don’t tell anyone.
Another not-so-healthy isolation practice is to over think. I tend to do it anyway, usually related to an idea I’m brewing, a conflict with someone or an event that didn’t meet my ego’s standards. But with so much time on my hands, and wacky news reporting, I’m not sure what to think, believe or feel.
According to Alice in Wonderland, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Alice, those six impossible beliefs can fizzle by the time my breakfast is over. And there I am again. Empty, in The Void—worried, angry and in despair.
There are many things we have done and will be doing while in The Void. What interests me most is how we are BEING—with the global/national/local pandemic, and, for me personally, as I prepare to let go of my ministry and consciously move into my elder years. My human tendency is to shake my head with worry, knock my angry head against a wall and hang my head in despair. My poor head! Consider the origins of the three words:
WORRY To constrict
ANGER To choke
DESPAIR To hope
When you find yourself in The Void and feel any of the three feelings above, remember that we have choice. According to a Chinese proverb, “When fate throws a dagger at you, there are only two ways to catch it: by the blade of by the handle.”
If I catch the worry side of the blade, I will remember to release. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.
If I catch the angry side of the blade, I will remember to breathe. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.
If I catch the despair side of the blade, I will remember that I always have hope. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.
When we neutralize the anxiety associated with the void, we can allow grace to fill the space. Consider the various word origins for grace: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks.
Today, on this New Moon, may favor, charm and gratitude guide you to your inner home. Then fill it with grace!!!
MEDITATION FOR THE VOID
Assuming Aristotle was right, that nature abhors a vacuum, then it stands to reason that we should fill that vacuum, The Void, with something empowering and supportive. Check out the website for Ashana, one of the premiere healing music artists and New Age vocalists of our time. https://www.soundofashana.com/