I've been musing on emptiness today.
This grows out of some recent conversations, as well as my Advent reading. I've been dipping into A Child in Winter, a collection of excerpts from the writings of Caryll Houselander, as well as Caryll's book of meditations on Mary, The Reed of God. Caryll was a lay Catholic Englishwoman, a mystic, artist and poet who did much of her writing during the challenges of World War II Britain.
Here's one from her on emptiness:
The law of growth is rest. We must be content in winter to wait patiently through the long bleak season in which we experience nothing whatever of the sweetness or realization of the Divine Presence, believing the truth, that these seasons which seem to be the most empty are the most pregnant with life. Child in Winter, p 29
Caryll was intrigued with the pre-Advent emptiness of Mary:
It is not a formless emptiness, a void without meaning; on the contrary it has a shape, a form given to it by the purpose for which it is intended.
It is emptiness like the hollow in the reed, the narrow riftless emptiness, which can have only one destiny: to receive the piper's breath and to utter the song that is in his heart.
It is emptiness like the hollow in the cup, shaped to receive water or wine.
It is emptiness like the bird's nest, built in a round warm ring to receive the little bird. Reed of God, p 21
At the beginning it will be necessary for each individual to discard deliberately all the trifling unnecessary things in his life, all the hard blocks and congestions; not necessarily to discard all his interests forever, but at least once to stop still, and having prayed for courage, to visualize himself without all the extras, escapes, and interests other than Love in his life: to see ourselves as if we had just come from God's hand and had gathered nothing to ourselves yet, to discover just what shape is the virginal emptiness of our own being, and of what material we are made...
Our own effort will consist in sifting and sorting out everything that is not essential and that fills up space and silence in us and in discovering what sort of shape this emptiness in us, is. From this we shall learn what sort of purpose God has for us. In what way are we to fulfil the work of giving Christ life in us? Reed of God, p 24
What shape is your emptiness? Where are you pregnant with life? How is Christ being birthed through you?
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"