“White Space” – as a “New Year’s Resolution”
My friend was giving me a tip to improve my writing skills. He told me told me to create “White Space” in my blog posts. He suggested that after I finished my first draft, I go back and “delete” all common knowledge references that I use to support the blog post topic.
The blog post may be insightful, possibly inspiring. But a unique observation is diminished if it relies on common knowledge examples to support its unique observation. He told me that the great Greek writers understood that the reader’s mind would “fill-in-the-blanks” of the unsaid, common knowledge.
That reader participation in the essay creates an involvement devoutly to be wished. The confluence of reader involvement throughout the essay, culminates in reader investment in the topic. The reader now owns the writer’s idea. That’s every writer’s dream. Opening minds and softening hearts to accept & express a writer’s idea as their own. (Imitation is the highest form of praise.)
By analogy, my friend then then offered an extension of the “White Space” concept to my life. He suggested that I create “White Space” in my life by deleting my faults common to humanity. By eliminating the dross of pride, lust, greed that fester in the soft underbelly of my humanity, I create “White Space” for God’s grace. God’s grace will fill that vacuum with peace, joy, kindness, etc. – traits that are uncommon to our Culture.
The Above YouTube Music Video Expresses the Essence of God’s Grace
Others will see the reflection of those virtues, and some may want the same for themselves. Some may want to participate in a life that’s other-centric, as opposed to egocentric. A life of actually loving others, asking nothing in return.
The Above YouTube Music Video Expresses the Essence of this Blog Post’s Message
I bristled at his suggestion that my “Life” mantra was, “What’s in it for me.” My friend asked, “What do I worship? (from the Olde English – “Worth-ship”). The litmus test for “Worship” is “How do I spend my time?” Obviously, my career is important. I must support my family. There are mortgage & car payments to make, along with utility & insurance bills, and food & clothes to buy. I also listed a litany of all kinds a things and opportunities that a responsible husband & father must provide. All that stuff requires my time & attention.
Author, Rick Warren, provided another observation of the main focus of our lives: “Everyone eventually surrender to someone or something. If not to God, people surrender to money, to approval, to pride, lust, or fear. Surrendering your life to God requires: Gratitude, Humility, Obedience, and Trust.
To that end, author, John Eldridge added, “We want power over our experiences, and control over outcomes.” (Life lessons provide ample evidence of the futility of those wants.) Instead, John Eldridge suggests, “We need to trade the control we crave, for the companionship of God.” Sadly, so many eschew the wisdom of that counter-intuitive observation, and wake up so lost, in a place so dark, asking, “Is that all there is?”
My friend then asked me if all those things in which I invested my time, were essential and functional, or did some reflect my achievements and status. Did my life reflect the wise Latin phrase, “Esse quam videri” – “To be, rather than to appear.” ? A life full of a bigger house, better car, and designer clothes is more about, “What’s in it for me?” – than “making another life breathe easier.”
I recalled my friend saying, “The world with ONE EXCEPTION (me), is made up of others.” I recalled Emerson’s verse about “Success”: “To know that even one life breathed easier, because I lived.” I recalled Christ’s plea, “To love one another, as I (Christ) have loved you.” All those quotes were about creating “White Space” by eliminating the gratuitous, to make room for the essential.
Perhaps, then, “Old acquaintances are not forgotten”, and new friends are cherished, when I sing “Auld Lang Syne”, in 2020. Perhaps, then, 2020 will indeed be a… “Happy New Year”.
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