On Mountains and Empty Spaces | Forum for Theological Exploration

On Mountains and Empty Spaces

By: Jennifer Bailey
February 10, 2014

I was in the passenger seat of my friend Danielle’s Ford Focus riding across the American southwest in route to California from Tennessee. One of the first things I noticed on our cross-country road trip is how different empty space looks depending on the location.

Driving across western Oklahoma, nothingness appeared in the form of prairie grass extending as far as the eye dare wander. In the Mojave Desert the red earth and low brush whispered secrets of the people and communities that tread these paths before.

It was visually striking, then, when the emptiness was broken by the rocky terrain of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico and the San Francisco Peaks of Northern Arizona. It reminded me that change is sometimes rapid and abrupt. Change often catches us off-guard with little concern for how we might feel about the matter.

The Christian tradition holds mountains in high esteem. It is on a mountain that Jesus delivers his famous and aptly named Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It is on a mountain that Christ transfigures before Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17). Clearly, mountains are places of great transformation and significance. Yet as I progress in my vocational walk, I find myself increasingly curious about the dull moments: those periods of seeming nothingness and prairie grass without any mountains ahead.

I can only speak for myself, but I have a difficult time enjoying and recognizing these moments in my life. Before I know it, I reach my destination with no clue how I got there. So rather than speed through, my goal is simple: to take time to seek God in those seemingly empty spaces and embrace the wonder that comes with finding God there.

Tags...: Thinking Out Loud

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