Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the space between the notes

The most precious things in speech are the pauses. — Sir Ralph Richardson

Sometimes all the words are gone.

Just before the day started to wrap up and I tucked a tiny curly-haired girl into bed, and friends knocked at my door, I was ready to say goodbye to this Monday. Early moments of the day dealt one too many blows against my wit, heart and muse, and I restlessly looked for relief.

So I drank more coffee and held my daughter longer than usual.
I turned up that old song by Switchfoot "Twenty Four" because it always fits.
I worked and plugged away on some projects.
I read The Screwtape Letters.
And I prayed,
and said nothing.
I prayed
and I heard nothing.
Sometimes that happens.
{It's not such a bad thing.}
And I watched an orange early harvest moon rise above rooftops at sunset.
I kissed her goodnight.
I stood quietly in the kitchen,
listening to the clock

I felt silence slowly wrap around me, revisiting my day and discussing these things with the no one listening.

I opened my door to two friends,
filled up the french press
and felt that familiar comfort
of friends, community,

source: pinterest.

Did you know, on the night of a full moon, the sky turns an almost perfect deep Indian blue at the edges of earth? Right where sky curves into stone, it shimmers oceanic for just a brief moment. I can see it from here, from where I sit with lullabies singing my daughter into dreams. This song is the perfect end to this day. 

Space. Silence. Perfect notes waiting, tension and letting go. My favorite part of this song? The spaced out harmonics on an electric guitar at the end. I literally feel like it's carrying me into another world of dreams, wonders, clear lakes, paper moons and stories untold. As Sara Groves said, "into the land of ever-after endings."

Right into that earth-meets-sky strip of stolen blue.

All I'm trying to say is this: 

I want to write. But I don't want to make noise. Every time I sit to put words to my thoughts, they fall empty and flat. 

But maybe the absence of words, of articulation...

maybe that space is adding to it all.

Debussy said "Music is the space between the notes."

Is that what all this is right now? The space in between? The emptiness and lack that makes everything else so beautiful?

Ever-after endings and paper moons need something to carry them. Perhaps all this boarded up silence in my heart is just part of that. I'm letting all my words drop into the Indian blue, and letting the moon glow. If the sky were filled with a thousand moons, we would not be so enamored. It's because He placed one so perfectly in our sky, hanging at our fingertips and rolling through our sleep... that makes it all the more stunning. It's all the space between that makes each drop of blue and ringing note so much more worthy of notice.

"He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs–to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." —The Screwtape Letters, VIII


  1. I love this post. Your writing is beautiful. I think you expressed how many of us feel at times!! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Thank you Charissa. :) Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by.

  3. I have never met you and so I feel slightly odd saying this - but I am SOBBING. Thank you.

  4. @voyem - this blog came with tears, so it seems only natural. thanks for stopping in and sharing in the heart of this with me.