Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vessels, Empty Space & Advent

Yesterday was a day filled with shadows and vessels. It is raining here in Seattle (no surprise there.) My living room is still filled with furniture from the basement and contractors go in and out of my house. A list sits patiently by my computer, but I did not want to go anywhere yesterday…no driving, no errands, no last minute Christmas duties. And so I stayed in for the day and made a collage. The topic: vessels. I asked myself “why vessels?” several times throughout the process.

What do vessels represent to me? Holding. A bowl. A womb. Cupped hands. A shell. A box. A gift. A decanter. The arms of God. Safety. Confinement. Cups & glasses. Crystal. Pottery. Earthenware. More questions: What am I trying to hold? What do I need to let go of? What does advent really mean?

Finally in the evening, I visited Back Road Journey and read these words:

“This gift (empty space) takes me down a path I may not have chosen otherwise: emptiness, brokenness, darkness, without-ness. The invitation is there, I have only to cross the threshold. And I am discovering that there are layers to this threshold, layers of emptiness and brokenness to live through. Perhaps this is what John the Baptist spoke of when he said, “Prepare the way.” What if prepare isn’t about pulling out all the Christmas boxes from the attic or basement in order to get the house just right or about baking up a storm but rather it’s about emptying, being without, getting rid of, all in order to make room? Could it be that it’s in the empty spaces and brokenness where there’s room for Emmanuel to be born?”

Something shifted in me as I read her words and I began to see the connection between vessels, empty space and advent. Preparing the way. Smoothing the vessel. Making room. Letting go. And this morning these words continued the journey. What edges need to be sheared away? Rough places chipped off to make space for God? For forgiveness and holiness. Grace & mercy. Filled up only to be emptied again and again. Opening the door to my own dark places. Seeing the images that still lie in shadow. There is much to consider in this time of waiting.

In closing, I will share one last thing (although another post is already brewing.) Here are words from Jan L. Richardson’s, Night Visions. They have been working on me for nearly a week since I read them. (Not surprisingly, they also were perfectly printed at the end of Redbarn’s post ☺ .) What places may still yearn to be hollowed out for you?

You hollow us out, God,
so that we may carry you,
and you endlessly fill us
only to be emptied again.

Make smooth our inward spaces
and sturdy,
that we may hold you
with less resistance
and bear you
with deeper grace.

collage by lucy

9 comments:

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Lucy, You know I live vicariously through the artistic efforts of other - I am so proud of you in leaping into the collage medium. Advent has obviously been another awakening for your artistic soul. xoxo SS

Abbey of the Arts said...

a moving collage lucy, and your words ring deep. what places still yearn to be hollowed out for me? I have realized years ago that a question for me is always what is enough? enough love? enough money? I have grown a lot in relationship to these questions, but there is a paradoxical call for me to move more deeply into my emptiness to know my fullness. much love, Christine

lucy said...

hi ss & christine--i appreciate your words of encouragement around the collage. it is an amazing process all on its own!

christine--your words of paradox remind me of something i read recently...and i am reminded of the need for constant emptying so that we may be made full again only to turn around and empty yet again. (kind of reminds me of my basement...although i pray it does not choose to fill back up again any time soon!!!!)

peace to you both!

The Dream said...

Good for you - hanging in at your home and being a creative wonder! Vessels - I love what you wrote, especially about feeling safe. I am a lover of vessels - of keeping afloat no matter how difficult the storm, emptying out what is not needed/not good/largely negative and remaining open to being filled with good. Great post, Lucy.

Anonymous said...

Lucy,
What a gift to yourself to stay in your home for a day creating art ~ and what a wonderful collage you created. I'm honored that you linked to my post ~ thank you. I'm still living with some emptiness ie: without my laptop, but some of the fullness is my oldest daughter is home from college :)) and she has a laptop. Emptying and filling...
Blessings to you! Redbarn

lucy said...

dream--when i read your words i recalled an image of a golden ship that i was drawn to while making the collage. somehow i thought it didn't fit...i think perhaps i should have listened to my original instinct!

redbarn--yes, emptying and filling...it speaks to me of life and living!

storyteller said...

Here I am … trying to catch up after falling behind again. You always offer meaningful musings to carry forth with me into my day. Thanks for your inspiration, creativity, and courage.
Hugs and blessings,

lucy said...

storyteller--hugs & blessings right back at ya!

Kel said...

lovely post lucy
thanx for sharing this timely wisdom