White Space Expanded

The literature scholar Alan Jacobs argues that we need to embrace “not a permanent silence, but a refusal to speak at the frantic pace set by social media.” He calls silence “the first option — the preferential option for the poor in spirit, you might say; silence as a form of patience, a form of reflection, a form of prayer.”

How I learned to shut up and be still Author Headshot
By Tish Harrison Warren

White Space is the blank space left around a PowerPoint, print on a page, or words in a lecture or sermon. It provides a respite from thick block of text, graphics, or words and allows us the chance to absorb what we have just seen, heard, or experienced.

After reading this thoughtful essay that someone shared from the New York Times, I realized that White Space could also be extended to our lives as well as our various activities.

“Candle Flame” by Sam Bald is licensed under CC BY 2.0
As Thomas Kildare writes, “Advocacy in support of the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized and the pursuit of peace requires action. Particularly in a democracy, we have a responsibility to raise our voices to call for a more just and compassionate society for all people.
But the practices of silence, contemplation and stillness are essential disciplines in Christian spirituality. If you survey the advice of the saints from the past two millenniums, a consistent piece of advice emerges: Shut up. Be still.
If we fail to engage in active practices, Alcántara says, “we risk becoming distant, aloof, and detached from the world around us.” But he also says, “if we fail to engage in receptive practices, we risk becoming distant from ourselves, offering living water to others while we die of thirst.” 
By Thomas Kildare