It seems we were scheduled for a date with emptiness.
A morning that stretched before us with no demands. No time to be here or there, no time to pick up and leave…just the day stretching before us like a cat in a pool of sunshine.
This sapphire cabochon sat amongst a boxful of of timepieces, ticking, ticking away in their monotonous counting. A glistening blue oval of a whole day to be held in the palm and marveled, to be studied in full light, to have its weight and shape measured against only the heat of my skin and pulse of my heart.
We packed a picnic because empty days are the best days for picnics.
We packed poles and tackle.
We pulled in, crunching gravel under slow-moving tires.
We stepped on bobbing, moaning docks of weather-worn gray–pathways to the edge of nothing. Only water-blue and sunshine sparkle waited at the end of this gray, boardwalk road.
And that suited us just fine.
We walked to the end, hooked bait, tested bobbers and dropped lines.
All the while we knew today wasn’t about catching fish, making dates, filling calendar slots.
Today was all about emptiness.
So we were quiet in the cathedral of nothing, four souls silenced by the choir of nature, the lapping of small waves under aging dock-wood, the creak of joints and the rub of a boat bumping the edge of the dock.
We heard the breeze.
And it was prayer.
And conversation came, like stories told from the lips of an old man, slow and deliberate. We listened with attention to our kids’ questions and thoughts because there was, for a handful of moments, nothing distracting that pressed us towards the quick-paced treadmill of day-to-day. They held poles and waited, waited.
But today wasn’t really about catching fish.
It was holy for it was set apart and we were made content and joyful with togetherness.
And communion was cups of lemonade and a stack of wheat-bread sandwiches. Fellowship was found in hugs in the shade of an old lilac tree and the message was found in a single centimeter caterpillar, a spinning prophet sailing on a tiny silk thread.
He spoke silent words of wisdom from King Solomon. As he turned in midair on that filament of strength he reminded me, “Vanity, vanity….”
I nodded in silent assent and soul agreement to the truths contained in the leaves of the Saturday Sabbath.
Filled with emptiness, we turned reluctant again toward life.
We packed our symbols of simple liturgy and reentered the race full. Full of the emptiness of grace and the filling of good things that can’t be measure or defined in earthly terms because they are large with the divine.