to make a room.
Where the room isn't,
there's room for you. - Lao Tzu
When I read the above passage from Lao Tzu's short poem "The uses of not," it stood out for me in a way that I couldn't quite describe at the moment, and it left me with the feeling that I was supposed to know something because of it.
To be honest, the last line was what grabbed me at first: "Where the room isn't/there's room for you." There was something true and beautiful about that line that spoke to me deeply. The author seems to be saying, "In the empty spaces... in the margins... there is room for you there."
But it was the first line of that passage that eventually gave me some clarity as to it all resonated with me so strongly: "Cut doors and windows to make a room."
That powerful line prompted me to ask myself:
"How often do I wall myself off from the world around me... from people who I encounter? How often do I deny myself experiences because of the box I've put myself in---a box that keeps me from being hurt, but denies me from feeling joy as a result?The only way that I am truly going to be able to experience the "empty space" where there is room for my true self, is when I actually create a room by opening my walled box through the creation of doors and windows.
In other words, only when we become vulnerable and open to the experiences God is sharing with us will we find space to become the people we are created to be. When we break open our walls, to receive God and others, we find our true identity and space "to be."
Perhaps you've heard the Latin phrase carpe diem, which means "seize the day." This is a worthy motto, but one that doesn't provide enough depth for those of us who have erected substantial boundaries of protection from pain and suffering.
Author Carolyn Weber suggests we change the phrase from carpe diem, to Carpe Deum, which is Latin for "seize God." She writes:
When I grow up, I mean way, way up, I hope to be a wise old woman of God. Someone who has learned not merely to seize the day but seize the Lord.Are there doors and windows in the room of your life? Or are you living walled up inside a box in order to keep yourself from experiencing pain, disappointment, and loss?
Cut out doors and windows, let the light shine in so you can see the space where you can become the person God dreams for you to be.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.