As I sit here preparing for another school year, I can’t help but think back on the event-filled summer and all the wonderful experiences I’ve had. From the coast of South Carolina to the mountains of Idaho, from driving across the country talking with my children to sitting under a tree reading and writing, it’s been a summer of restoration. As a friend puts it, I have” filled my spiritual tires.”

Of my many memories, I keep returning to the open spaces that surrounded me all summer. Walking along the shore and looking out at the ocean, sitting on a deck with the Sawtooth Mountains before me, driving across the vast farms of South Dakota with neighbors living miles apart, and cruising on the Neuse river at sunset . . . what they all have in common is a wide open space allowing my full appreciation of the view.

This morning I sat on our back patio with my coffee, surrounded by trees, beginning to think about all that needs to be done as another year begins. With trees towering over me, and a to do list growing longer by the second, I missed the open spaces of summer. It dawned on me that a gift I can give myself this year is more open spaces. Rather than filling my days with meeting after meeting, conversation after conversation, I can deliberately make room in each day to breathe and look out at the larger landscape of my life.

Yes, the voice calling me (and all of us) to do more will cry out, demanding attention and pointing to others who rush feverously through every minute of the day, but the experiences this summer remind me about the other voice trying to get a word in edge-wise. It does not call me to do more, but to be more.

To hear this voice, and to follow its urgings, requires space, lots of space. May we all find such space this year.


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