In the London subway system there are signs posted as you enter and exit the cars that tell you to watch your step so you don’t slip and fall (or drop your cell phone) into that cavernous hole. However in London they don’t say “watch your step”, they say “Mind the Gap”. And of course in typical tourist fashion you can buy just about any item with this saying on it from keychains to boxers.
But why do we need to mind the gap? Because a lot can happen in the space between.
Besides this cavernous gap at a subway platform, there are additional spaces to look out for:
- The space between two mountains, between the seats on a train, between the clouds…
- The time between meetings, between goodbye and the next hello, between a hurtful word and an apology…
- The gap between my eyebrows. (there didn’t use to be a gap there)
- The space between who I was, who I am, and who I will be.
Today God I am thankful for… the gap.
gaps in space…
One of my awkward phases included a several year span with a retainer, braces, a head gear and the makings of a uni-brow. Wild and crazy, my bushy eyebrows in junior high longed to form a bridge above my nose. Thankfully in the beginning of high school I discovered an amazing invention called tweezers. And the gap was born. As an adult when I go through this painstaking task, I recall the time when I didn’t care about such things and just enjoyed girl scouts and time with my friends sledding down the hill in my backyard. This gap reminds me to be thankful for my happy childhood that not everyone gets to experience.
For my birthday this year we had the privilege of traveling to Ireland, and while this created a gap between the realities of work, there was another gap more beautiful. If you drive long enough and far enough (and past the people who try to coerce you to park in their overpriced lot) you will find a space between two mountains. Tour buses do not fit here. And when we climbed the hill and crossed into this gap we saw an untouched river, a waterfall, a lake, mountains and an expansive blue sky. It looks like a scene from the Hobbit. I am thankful God thought of the details, and didn’t leave the canvas between the mountains blank. This gap reminded me what the word awesome truly means.
gaps in time…
When I am in meetings all day at work, a five minute gap means I can refill the coffee, run to the restroom, text my husband. But it also means I can say hello, ask someone how they are doing, return a favor… A gap in my workday reminds me to stop for one second, to look around and to be thankful that I have a job and we can pay our bills. It reminds me to do my best to use the skills God has gifted me for something bigger than myself. I don’t remember these things in every gap, but with every gap I have another chance to try.
But the hardest gaps to be thankful for are often periods of silence…
- The times when hurtful words are spoken and I wait for an apology that never comes.
- The times when I have to say goodbye to a friend, not knowing when we’ll have the next hello.
- The times when I say a prayer (over and over) and have to wait for a response.
These gaps in time can be painful… and yet… it turns out there is not a gap at all.
The space that feels like I’m just waiting, like nothing is happening, like nothing is there… Is really when everything is happening. In me. It’s where my character grows. How I see the gap. Interact with it. Deal with it. How I treat other people and myself in the midst of those circumstances.
The gap defines me. And a lot can happen in the space between.
- Between a hurt and an apology: I learned that forgiveness is something I give. Not something that is deserved. Forgiveness is a choice and a gift that I give to myself and the other person, not because of what they did (or didn’t do). But because of who God is, and who he is molding me to be.
- Between a question and an answer: I learned my patience is selective, and it shouldn’t be. Certain people get the best of me. Certain situations I look at with humor and amusement. But I am called to more than being circumstantial. The gaps are when I am tested. Often I fail, but these kinds of gaps are pretty frequent. So I have a lot of chances to try again. Eventually I will be better.
- Between a criticism and a retort: I learned that being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Count to a thousand. Seek to understand. Don’t be defensive. The gaps are when I have the opportunity to love someone through my responses.
Today I am thankful for the gap.
When the sun rises on a cloudy morning rays of light shine through the gaps. I am convinced God does this for me. A gift to remind me…
- He sees me.
- He will be with me throughout the day.
In every moment, and the spaces between.