I feel hollow, empty, as if part of me has been carved out.
And maybe it has. When a tumour is removed, an empty space remains. The body must readjust itself and regrow back into that space.
It seemed like Spring was just around the corner, only for Winter to laugh and bring another icy blast, refusing to let go quite yet.
And I feel barren.
The only thing I know is to sit and wait. To cup this hollow space inside me with tender hands and just wait.
This isn’t a passive waiting, but an expectant, hopeful waiting. Not trying to seek and grasp, but knowing that winter cannot hold on forever, Spring will loosen her grip and pour forth newness and hope.
I am reminded that this is the season approaching Lent, at least in the upside-down world I inhabit. There is only a few more weeks until the Spring Equinox, pushing us forward into light. Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes mark the shift between dominance of dark and light. I can feel the hands of Spring clawing up from beneath the barren winter soil, crying, “we will not be held back!”
And it is coming.
New life, Resurrection.
But for now, I am sitting in the stillness of winter and waiting. Empty, expectant.
I sit, holding this new emptiness, giving my self time to redistribute weight, to release the long-held tension of holding a wound.
There is no hurry here. Spring will come in due time, in the fullness of waiting.
Julien of Norwich wrote that our wounds become wombs, places for new life to take root and grow. And I wonder what might flourish in the wake of this wound.
… but wait a second.
How easy it is to seek resolution, to look for Spring to come!
We are tuned to seek out the major chord in finale, not to wait, hanging, on the minor transition.
We cling to the hope of fullness coming, missing the soul-wrenching beauty of emptiness, the barrenness of winter that pares back and forces us to wait and be in our true leaf-less form. We hunger for the colour of blossoms and new life, desperate to flee the starkness of empty earth, empty branches.
In a world which rushes things to completion, faster and faster, wanting things fixed and right now. This waiting is lonely.
It feels shameful to be standing empty, fruitless, nothing to offer, unmoved by the bright celebrations of spring and summer around me. Is this how Hannah felt (1 Samuel 1:11)? So barren and empty, longing so much for fruit to come forth that she offered that fruit straight back to God, before she had even received?
I don’t know what will come from this hollow emptiness, but God is asking me to just wait in this place, to cultivate confidence in being right where God wants me, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how shameful. Pleasing the Holy One comes before the expectations of the people around me (and maybe if I keep telling myself that it will become more natural to me).
Some days, waiting can feel like rest, but other days it feels like I have been standing at attention for eight hours and I am desperate to move, longing to do anything but just stand still.
But if that is what my God is asking of me, I will stand. Empty and waiting, I will stand. Holding forth my emptiness, inviting the Breath of God to blow through my hollowness, bringing holy echoes to reverberate through my life.
The armour of God gains deeper meaning in this stillness. So I will put on this armour that I might stand, allowing only God to move me from my waiting.
And so I stand, empty and waiting, hollow and barren, but grounded in the Faithful One.