Blank Pages

From a recent article in The New York Times:  “Add this to the endangered list: blank spaces.”

“Advertisers seem determined to fill every last one of them.  Supermarket eggs have been stamped with the names of CBS television shows.  Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance.  US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags.”

One marketing research firm estimates that a person living in a city sees 5,000 ad messages a day.  No wonder we feel bombarded.

So, yes, add blank spaces to the endangered list.  And we need blank spaces as much as we need room to breathe or room for the Holy Spirit to breathe through us.

In the 1930s there was an Oxford don, an influential Anglo-Saxon scholar, who was quietly correcting the papers of his students.  Picture the pages before him on his desk.  Each page is densely packed.  He writes his own comments, adding to the crowded pages.  Then he turns over one page and finds it is blank.  This is something different and unexpected.  He pauses before the blank page and, for whatever reason—later he could not explain why—he writes one sentence:  “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

The Oxford don was J.R.R. Tolkien and that sentence is the opening line of his famous novel, The Hobbit, the introduction to his masterful Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He had never written a word of fiction before coming upon that blank page.

Do you have enough blank spaces in your life?

If not, do you have any new ideas about what you might do about that?

How about a very ancient idea?  How about Sabbath?

–Reflection by Martin B. Copenhaver, in StillSpeaking

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