(To understand the concept of “White Space” check out part one and two)
There is an irritating quality about nature in that it hates a vacuum. Stuff slowly migrates in so that empty space never stays empty. That is certainly true in my world. I can work all morning creating white space on my table. Walk away for 10 minutes and come back to a pile of things I didn’t leave there. I have been trying to inform those around me that white space is the new “cool” in our house but so far with limited success. I think we all want to get there but old habits die hard.
Some things seem totally out of my control or anyone else’s for that matter. Take dust bunnies for instance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_bunny). I have spent the last few years studying these creatures because I can not seem to alter their breeding practices no matter how hard I try. This week I conquered them in my bedroom (or so I thought!) I went through with a will just one week ago to finally eradicate them from all the deep crevices and caverns. But I got up this morning and there is no sign my heroic efforts had any effect at all. Wild dusty clumps of them stand mocking me as I type as if to say, “We have you now.”
I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Where are they coming from and where can I go to get real help? There are special exterminators for bed bugs, which seem to be just as prolific, but who is even taking on the task of limiting the proliferation of dust bunnies? “Ahhh,” you say, “It’s getting cold outside and you haven’t run your furnace all summer.” It’s true; I turned on the furnace for a while, but oh my gosh! Something apparently died in our cold air return over the summer. I can’t run the furnace until I find the culprit and give him a somewhat decent burial. Who else has stuff like this happen to them? I feel attacked! Hmmm, So what is happening? It feels like a war! Am I being attacked? Is there more to this than dust bunnies and mice?
I’m embarrassed to admit that something managed to get into our house and then die there. People don’t talk about mouse problems much. I have friends whose houses look perfect. Do they ever have mice? Am I the only one who has squatters move in when the weather turns cold? It’s not that we haven’t tried to find every stinkin’ mouse size breach. But year after year, come around September, they sneak their way in and I move all but the smart ones back out.
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure this one is a mouse. We have squirrel here. Don’t let their cuteness fool you. They are cheeky little devils that have no boundaries whatsoever. Last summer, while on vacation, an extraordinary thing happened. I had a bushel of nuts in the basement when we left and when we returned, I had a totally empty basket instead. The sneaky, little guy left no trace of nut, piddle, footprint or crumb but he had clearly been there.
So, what does all that have to do with white space? Well, the more I contemplate white space the more I recognize my need for it. I need white space, in my day, time to contemplate and bring my mind to order. I need visual rest for my eyes. How can you sit down and rest when your eyes can see no order? I need white space for my ears too. Perhaps another time I will talk about noise, verses good music and silence. Sound that is in order blesses my soul as does silence, but I live in a world of clamor and noise. Noise is excruciating. It nibbles away at my sanity somehow. Hmmm, I keep having the feeling that this is a war. I’m wondering if living without white space is the same as living a life of confusion. Having once struggled with brain trauma, which is the ultimate encounter with confusion, I have learned to fear it. Confusion is painful on a very deep level. I have huge compassion for the confused. Does that explain my need for white space? And if God is not the author of confusion, does that mean Satan is the author of the mess? Am I in a bigger battle than what I think? If so, what are the tools needed to win? Can I renounce the spirit of dust bunnies, mice and bed bugs? You know there might be something to that. I know that it is easier by far to conquer your enemy when you know that he is indeed your enemy.