I don’t know what it is about “empty spaces” and my (and maybe your) insatiable need to fill them, but both are there: the empty spaces and the insatiable need to fill them. I guess I attempt to fill full spaces, too… but that’s another story for another day.
I was tempted to take the beautiful new calendar my daughter bought for me and insert it into the oak calendar frame and rehang it clean and fresh — empty — for awhile. But before I knew it, I was filling in birthdays — deciding to limit the notations to ‘family’ birthdays (and use my day-planner for these and everyone else’s birthdays) and other significant dates and events.
That’s when I began to think about the insatiable filling of space… spaces in rooms, on shelves, closets, cabinets… and: scheduling. While considering all this, it struck me: I cannot recall ever scheduling empty space — making time for nothing; read: no thing. Through all the many years of homeschooling, I’ve never scheduled time for “nothing.” I’ve scheduled “free time” but it was not for *no-thing* it was/is for all the stuff that couldn’t be done in a day and somehow the hope was to get it done during what’s loosely called free-time. I always find ways to fill and overload my “free time” so I’ll seem more productive.
Now, I know I’ve had days “off” with no real plans and I’ve frittered away the time doing nothing important and so I guess, to some, this would constitute a day of nothing — and — I have set aside days for which there are to be no “outside commitments” or no appointments, etc. But a day or a portion of time set aside for “nothing” on purpose?!?! — this, I don’t recall ever doing. Generally, when there’s down-time, it’s a result of cancelled plans or sickness or whatever — but not something scheduled on purpose — and it seems to immediately get filled.
My dear old friend, Florence, used to say that she scheduled a day of NO THINGS after each retreat or workshop for which she was the guest speaker. She’d do this to recharge — to rejuvenate — after speaking engagements that always tended to run long and require much “counseling” with attendees — generally coupled with long distance travel. I always knew this was her great joy and passion, but it took its toll on her — both physically and emotionally. I admired her careful planning and ordered life. But, truly, I also knew that her days of doing “no” thing were anything but days of *no* things. I know they were times of recharging, refocusing, resting in the Lord, thinking on His Word, listening to restful music and mulling over what all had transpired before the day of “no things.”
It was good for me to remember this as I was gathering my thoughts for this blog post… and I’m needing to consider this a bit more as I plan for the days ahead and all the different needs of this home and family. And… just like I’m trying to eliminate clutter from our home’s cabinets, closets and drawers, so also, I want to eliminate clutter from our schedules — AND — to plan for more *do no thing* times — scheduling some empty space times. I want us to be careful to follow the Lord in this so that it doesn’t become a time of silly things or a time for irresponsibility… I believe prayerful consideration and wisdom will be key in this.
And, as an aside, while I know there’s a good place for scheduling in different seasons of life — and some seasons will have some fairly intense scheduling — but when it’s all said and done, I’ve come to think it’s wisest to simply make a list of things that must be accomplished by certain times each day – and do them. And then a list of things that should be done at least every-other-day — and do them. And then a list of things that must be done weekly — and do them. You see? This way, we are trained and our children are trained to accomplish important things — decently and in order. I think it takes some times of *no* things to focus on, be ready for and appreciate the times of more things.
So… I’m working on creating some more ’empty spaces’ from time to time…