'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read. - - - Mark Twain
We have a 24-volume set of Mark Twain's writings. It was published in the 1920s, and is in beautiful shape. Ebay research shows that it would fetch a couple hundred dollars should my husband decide to sell it.
The set belonged to my husband's grandfather, and therefore I have no claim on it. And the truth is, neither of us have taken much advantage of the fact that these classics were in our midst. Of the 24 books, I've read about five. I think my husband read only one, and that was because Huckleberry Finn was required reading in high school.
In my family room is a built-in floor to ceiling structure with cabinets in the lower part, and a series of bookshelves on top. Today, I removed the Mark Twain books and put them in the garage, in the section designated for my husband's belongings.
He did not ask me to do this. It's something I must do as part of transitioning from "ours" to "mine."
The books had taken up an entire shelf. Now there is empty space. There are empty spaces elsewhere as well. They are metaphors for other areas in my life.
I've been guilty of rushing to fill in empty spots. Have you noticed how we go from apartments, to a house, to even larger houses and always manage to fill the space we have? We're a materialistic culture. We fill in silence with noise. How many people do you know who must have a radio or television on at all times? We don't like pauses in conversation. Our egos are fueled by how much we have written in our planners, how many emails we receive in a day, how many times our cell phone rings.
We confuse empty with barren. I've learned to see my life in a new way. A vacancy allows me to contemplate how and what I need to be fulfilled. There's a joyful anticipation, an advent of sorts, of just how my currently empty cup is going to runneth over in the future. The mystery of how the tapestry of my life will be woven lets me embrace solitude, the quiet times and places. The peace of a contemplative life helps balance the busyness of living in current times.
I love getting my brand new yearly calendar, with all of those beautiful, white unmarked pages, excited to discover how my daily life will manage to fill in all those little squares. Unlike years passed, however, I now look forward to some of those squares staying pristine.
So the bookshelf will remain empty for awhile. And I'm okay with that.