The Empty Moments

FireplaceThis past week I’ve crawled into the half-frozen covers of my bed earlier than usual. Sometimes I just stare at the ceiling. Thinking. Pondering. But mostly just trying not to think about how cold I am before the sheets warm up. Usually it’s this part of the day I despise most.

I’m a doer. Give me a to-do list and 3 hours of uninterrupted time and I’ll knock it all out. I live much of my life based on efficiency. Why do something one way when the other is just as good and faster?

I have the kind of job you always carry with you. That crumbling marriage. The guy making poor choices while pursuing a woman. The upcoming message on Genesis 38. These are the thoughts and circumstances I find bouncing around my head, nearly all day, every day.

You might not have the same circumstances surrounding your life or vocation, but in a societal push toward vocational independence and entrepreneurialism, many of you can relate to the feeling of work never leaving. My wife often asks, “I have stuff to do tonight, is there anything you have to do instead of us spending time together?” I always respond, “I could work all day, every day, and still have more to do.”

I do my best to shut down the neverending-ness of work while I’m home. Ignore my phone. Turn off the computer. Sit in front of the fireplace. Do the dishes. Forcing myself to slow down. In the moment I never value the simplicity of its emptiness, but I know it’s those empty spaces that bring life to the chaotic ones.

As I get older I place more value in these empty moments. The ones where the needle isn’t moved on the bottom line. It’s that space where relationships and soul-work are cultivated.

This week is one of those weeks of empty moments. Many people have a long string of days off. No one is checking their email every 3 minutes. The to-do list is short, or non-existent. If you’re like me you tend to fill in the emptiness with something, anything.

I think it’s these empty moments that give life to the chaotic ones. And as I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving, my prayer is that God’s voice will be heard by you as you embrace the emptiness.