A couple of weeks ago, exhausted and numb from four months of non-stop activity and emotional upheaval, I finally carved out some space in my calendar to drive to a local lake and just sit. And breathe. It was a beautiful day, the sun shimmering on the water, the mountains still showing patches of snow on their greening flanks. From the moment I sat down, I felt the tension leaving my body, making space for an awakened sense of the holy. It seemed appropriate to take off my shoes and dig my feet into the warm sand. A toddler whose family was picnicking nearby had done the same and was trundling across the beach with no apparent destination. The walking was its own reward. I smiled, because my sitting was also its own reward.
After a couple hours of blessed aimlessness, I picked up the book I had brought with me, John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara. I had only read a few paragraphs when a sentence jumped off the page and stopped me in my tracks. “It is interesting that in Hebrew one of the original words for salvation is also the word for space.” Wow! Space and salvation are the same thing??? The truth of it smacked me right upside the head.
Hadn’t I already been discovering the salvation of space for the last two hours? In fact, hadn’t I always known it?
I have been pondering and writing about the concept of soul space for several years after being confronted by my penchant for such extreme busyness that it ultimately prevented me from occupying my own soul. I believe there is much to discover about the significance of spaces in our lives and what we can learn from them and in them. Soul space is the counterpoint to life, the being to our doing, the silence to noise, the stillness to activity. It is the place where unseen things dwell, the place where the music of life resonates and echoes in the soul. It is within these spaces that we find communion, peace, wisdom, insight, surrender, rest, awakening and yes, even salvation. When we live into these spaces, they give rise to divinely inspired action. We are able to act in tune with the Holy Spirit, because we have time to listen.
In creation, spaces gives shape to whatever surrounds them. In human terms, spaces give shape to our hopes and dreams, to our values and to our selves. It is in the spaces of life that we find true self, something which is often elusive in the mindless rush of daily living. Spaces are the keyhole to heaven, the means to unlock a doorway between this world and the next, liminal space in which we open ourselves to the presence of God and are allowed to touch the holy mystery. As we open our lives to times and places where soul space is possible, it enables us to be restored in body and soul, so that we may joyfully love and serve God and others with our whole hearts.
I put the book down, remembering a line from the Book of Common Prayer, “O God of peace, You have taught us that in returning and rest, we shall be saved…” I turned my face to the sun and felt the warmth of salvation drenching my soul.