“The circles keep changing to color surprises!” an excited student in my class exclaims as colored circles dance across the screen.
The students have their own circles to fill with color in time to the music that accompanies a changing kaleidoscope of bright hues. The typical rush of a Pre-K classroom eases into the shading of bright overlapping tones of the rainbow while the musical rhythms fill the space of time.
The shape of the circles are holding places designed to be filled. The empty void finds purpose as it is filled by each young artist.
Similarly, this year has, in a sense, felt void of the typical activities that bring meaning to our spaces of time. Like the colors that fill the circles, the colors of life that typically fill time with meaning and purpose have shifted shades. As days have passed into weeks, months, and now a year, I continue to gaze ahead towards a future that is dotted again with expectations. And yet when look behind, I see places that are filled with the unexpected. I realize I am grasping onto my expectations for time, when time itself is already filled to the brim with mystery.
Sometimes I still feel a tinge of lingering unsettledness at the sudden ending to a class that held a special sweetness to me. In the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic during my last year teaching overseas, our classes suddenly halted in-person learning. However, I knew little then of the rising and falling of expectations that would fill time over the course of the next year.
But perhaps time is a holding place. As I look back at holding places in time, I realize the original perspective I had in those spaces of time has changed in an unanticipated way. Like the changing kaleidoscope of color, the beauty that appears surprises the colorless landscape of my heart.
The feelings that fill the spaces of this time seem to be sorted into positive or negative. As I grapple with disappointment, I try to avoid filling future spaces with expectations. But to my own wonder, the tone has shifted and led to new shades of feeling.
Like the changing colors in the dancing circles, I realize the passing of time can lead to a shift in perspective bringing colorful purpose to the voids of the past. My attempts at leaving no room for disappointment are filled with the realization that I am missing the potential to see the hues of meaning in these spaces of time. Time itself holds those spaces where colored reality suddenly fades to hints of hurt, sorrow, and fear. But even in that filled space, the moving of time brings a new point of view to the shade that is seen.
Time is the holding place for all of the colors of life, and it is in this place in time that my heart is filled with a new outlook on the circles I occupy. I realize it is no longer necessary to grip the lingering feeling of disappointment at the dismantling of my expectations—and yet I do grip one thing.
I hold those gifts that every hue of feeling brings. Spaces of grief are opportunities for healing. Spaces of loneliness are gifts reminding me of the beauty of connection. Anger reminds me of the brightness of passion and forgiveness. Fear sheds light on the covering of love and compassion.
Gifts of time. What a space.
Time is the holding place, but who is filling it? To me, this brings a new awareness to God as the filler of the seemingly meaningless and chaotic spaces of time with his creative purpose. Elohim is used to name God in Genesis 1:1-2. It’s the very beginning of time and the unmatched creative Spirit of God is hovering over the empty space.
“In the beginning God (Elohim) created by forming from nothing the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2 AMP)
Whatever our particular shape of time holds at the moment, it is ultimately the holding place of the Giver of meaning. To hold a gift for a time gives way to the gift of knowing beyond doubt, that the times are evidence that Creator God, “the Giver of every good and perfect gift,” sees and cares.
That is worth holding.
Maybe the goal of being in our held space of time is meant to be filled, not with the fulfillment of a dream, or the grasping of a desperately wanted gift, but rather with the Filler of time itself. Somehow in those places of disappointment, I see there is a gift to receive his comfort. I do not understand, but I’m not sure if that is necessary. All of time is the holding place of a design I cannot fathom, but knowing the One who fills these spaces is all that is necessary.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens..” Ecclesiastes 3:1
How have you seen the creative hand of God hover over the spaces of your life that seem void of meaning? How do you sense new hues of emotion filling places where you have held disappointment over the last year?