In the Void of it All
I sat in a local pizzeria, I mean, I sat in the converted alley next to the pizzeria in the 102 degree afternoon sipping on my ice water and people watching. The atmosphere of the street was a mix of eating patrons with cautious and defensive masked pedestrians. This matched the vibe of the town where the culture of inclusiveness in social issues was in stark contrast to the barriers the COVID reality have drawn around me. I laughed as my wife and I were slow to put our face coverings on as an approaching woman clutched her man away from us. I suppose my bare face was that offensive.
Yet, none of these sights and messages of my locale was as evident at the phrase that I had coined that evening. It came from many conversations that I have had or others have shared with me about those who are the most inclusive individuals yet seem to be ironically the most void of contentment.
The acquisition of philosophies, multi-societal norms, and a bleeding of biases that lean away from a modern or traditional view of ethics, politics, or engendered roles we all play, seem to have left many who call the other side too narrow and a bigot, no room left for a place of their own.
It's as if a painter has all the colors to her disposal, lays vast images of such variety on the canvas, making room for all the shades and hues. However, at the end of her work, she can't define the meaning of what is staring back at her. There she looks with everything as a choice yet is isolated "In the void of it all".
What is glaring to me is the words of Christ when in Matthew 7 he describes the wide and the narrow gate/way.
13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.14But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Only as few find the narrow gate, the path to life!? This is a difficult teaching from Jesus. So difficult it pinpoints the breaking point for many who will come to accept him or reject him. It is the point at which authority is taken or surrendered.
Many chose the wide path where they reject Jesus and remain in control of their lives. Yet, they lose the opportunity for a future destiny that leads to life. They start on their way to look inward, around, or over Christ as a path to peace, assurance, or some existential meaning without him.
Choosing the path of life, which is Jesus himself, is to give authority and replace the void of everything for the fulfillment of one thing. Unmasking the authority of Christ from behind our preconceptions is at the same time unmasking that of oneself. Nothing is more vulnerable, fearful, and forming than to discover ones stance in the universe. However, it is a precious place where one is loved, pursued, and known.
One seems to be categorical in most voids is the feeling of overwhelming fear. Reason why a woman clutches at her companion as I pass her with my mask on one ear instead of two. Reason for narratives driven by profit, agendas, or exploitation reverberate in our media or dialogue as a nation. Reason for the temptation of control to override a deep sense of obedience in the same direction (the narrow path) when we can get some form of instant results.
It seems that the only conclusion I can suggest for you if you find yourself in the void of it all, is to surrender that misconception that you are alone in it. There is no void in God, and whether we see or realize it, he is always there in the middle of it all. My experiences have taught me that since I cannot originate anything in creation on my own, I am nothing but an interpreter of all that is around me. I would much rather seek to know the one who created it all rather than assume the facade of an authority that vanishes at my last breath.
May you find everything in the void because you came to Him, the way!
Keep Looking Up,