Seven years ago today, I first ventured into blogland at http://inaspaciousplace.blogspot.ca/2008/07/introduction.html with an introduction explaining my blog’s name.

In my explanation about why I was taking up blogging I said,

This blog is intended to be a stopping place. I want to stop. I want to breathe. And I want to see what emerges from that stopping place. I want to discover what is there when I give myself space, or, perhaps better, when I enable myself to be in the “spacious place,” that in fact has already been provided for me by God.

I put up 74 posts at Blogspot before switching to WordPress, where, as of today, I have posted  1,875 times. That is a total of 1,949  posts, probably over 1 million words.

That is a lot of words.

So, now it is time to follow my own advice and stop again and “see what emerges from that stopping place.” I am not sure how long I may stop, certainly July and August, perhaps longer.

I do not want this spacious place to be just another distraction. I worry at times it may be for me, and perhaps some readers, merely another form of entertainment, hopefully a little more edifying than Reality TV but possibly not all that different if it is only one more way to escape the sometimes difficult realities of life.

We all struggle. It may appear that there are people who sail serenely through life without a worry or a concern. This is either complete illusion, or deep delusion. There are no lives that do not have shadow spots and no journeys that do not, at times travel over painful bumpy patches.

There are no perfectly smooth roads.

The only authentic response to the sometimes hard realities of life is to stop and sit patiently with the pain.  It is tempting to seek ways to avoid the storms, uncertainties and insecurities that are an inevitable part of life in this temporal realm. It is tempting to resort to socially acceptable forms of anesthetic.

But, to attempt to avoid the suffering that comes in every life, is to condemn oneself to immaturity, the life of a child trapped in an adult body without the skills to navigate effectively in the storm.

There are so many anesthetics available.

But every attempt to dull or numb the pain has inevitable side-effects. We become smaller than the people we were created to be. We fail to develop the depth and wisdom that are our destiny. We lose touch with the deep steady inner strength that is our true identity.

Jesus said,

Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:23)

This has nothing necessarily to do with material wealth.  It has everything to do with our unwillingness to stand on the edge of our insufficiency and peer deep into the abyss of our need.

We are not self-sufficient. Anything that promotes the illusion of self-sufficiency hinders us from opening to the power of that presence Jesus called “the kingdom of heaven.”

If my heart is going to open, I must stop, sit still, rest, breathe, and listen. I must find space in which to face the nothingness of my material temporal existence, and refuse to run away afraid. I must enter that “spacious place” where I can hold the inevitable tensions of the human condition without fleeing to the distractions so freely available through the clacking keys of my computer.

Blessings on your summer. May you find spacious places to open to the presence of deep mystery and profound love over these summer months.

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