“My parents, and librarians along the way, taught me about the space between words: about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you could find miracles and truth and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way.”
~ Anne Lamott
Probably one of the most common phrases I utter these days is, “let me check my calendar.” Because there, on those pages, in those neatly organized boxes, the events of my life are painstakingly noted and categorized. It is the library of my to-do’s.
If I flip back through the pages of my calendar, I can browse a list of everything I have been committed to do over past weeks, or months, or years, and most everything I am committed to do in the future. It informs me about the busy-ness of my life, but it says little about the experience of it – the fleeting thoughts, brilliant ideas, and deep emotions which come with the living. It tells me that last month I had lunch with a friend, but not that we would run into another old friend and spend far too long (according to “the schedule”) laughing and talking together, and reviving a long-neglected connection. It tells me that last Thursday I had to pick my son up from school later than usual, but not that on the way there I would witness one of the most glorious sunsets I had ever seen. It tells me that Friday is Halloween, but not that my son will be so thrilled with his costume that the candy will be an inconsequential footnote to the evening’s events…
When those boxes start to fill up, it is easy to get bogged down in the next, next, next. I find sometimes that “staying on schedule” looms so large in my consciousness that it is easy to forget there is a now, with joy and flavor all its own. That there are beautiful moments of spirit, of truth in the space between the boxes; unscheduled, undocumented, not penciled in.
Joy and spirit, friendship and laughter… miracles. These can all be found in the margins of your life, if you awaken to the living of it, and take the time to breathe between “engagements”.
How do you embrace the space between the words, between the boxes of the calendar, and live fully into every experience?