Whole Mama: Space

Space is our Whole Mama word for the week. Join the link-up over at Esther Emery’s place. This time around there are some beautiful words about space being shared by Cara Meredith.

When I drive into Chicago, which isn’t often because it’s anxiety-inducing and eats a week of my energy, I always think about space. It’s not simply because I have to leave plenty of space in my arrival buffer to account for traffic. It’s more about how drivers are so hesitant to let people in on the highway. Will making room really slow them down? I don’t know where they are going or how much time they need to get there, but it doesn’t seem worth the extra couple of seconds to make it harder for someone else to get where they are going.

Scarcity demands to differ. It says having to move over and make room, or slow down and make room, is going to cause misery. I believe this sometimes myself. But then I hear Abby Norman’s voice preaching to my soul, because she is exposing the lies scarcity frequently tells. I am grateful for her calling to throw open all the doors to abundance of space and gifts and life.

I have always felt compelled to be a creator of space for people in other ways, in the ways of the heart, so why wouldn’t I also be good at making room on the highway? It doesn’t come naturally at first. It takes practice to train my brain to believe that getting from point A to point B doesn’t have to be dog-eat-dog. It comes a bit fearfully at times. What if those extra seconds cost me a parking space? Scarcity has taught us to fear, to plan for the worst scenarios. And through practice I have learned this: making room for others brings a sense of simple joy and goodwill towards my neighbor. This is not just about driving, really. This is about becoming a person who loves.

Love is the ultimate space-maker. When one of my children is angry and throwing toys or fighting a sibling, I have learned that when I swoop into the situation as a lecturer, I am not making space for them to be the children they are. But when I swoop into the situation as a mediator, one who is on everyone’s side and willing to hear them out, they can relax into that space of not-knowing and not having a resolution yet, because eventually we will work out satisfactory solutions for everyone.

The words “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” make space for repair and growth in a relationship. The words “I hear you” and “It’s okay to be sad” create a safe environment for my kids to express their big feelings, of which there are many. I know they need it shown they are still loved when they are unkind or unruly and have hurt other people. Sometimes the anger they are showing is really anger at themselves for having crossed the boundary they knew was there. (Ask me how I know this!) My arms are ready when they want a hug. My words are ready when they need reassurance and a plan of action to reconcile with the person they hurt.

This is not an easy scenario. It happens so frequently there are still a few times my “I can’t even deal with this” switches on. I put compassion on a shelf and pull out reaction instead. They know even when I do react that compassion is the thing I will return to, because I love them enough to own my faults and seek repair. They make space for me to be an imperfect mom and still I am shown love and trust. This is a gift not to be held lightly. I carry this hope into each day: that we will all have and make and be space, grace, and love for each other. Even on days when it feels we fail to reach that goal, it is understood that love isn’t over and there is room to try again.

There is space for one step forward when we’ve chosen one step back. There is space for growing our hearts stronger together. There is space for all the big feelings. There is space to work out a restoration, and space to believe it is possible. Thanks be to Love.

What about you? How does the word "space" speak to you this week? In what ways do you need to believe in abundance of space in your life? I'd love to have you share your thoughts in the comments, or join our link-up here.

Jamie Bagley