The Dave Matthews Band’s wonderful song “The Space Between” describes where he will be waiting for his love — in the “space between” the laughter, the tears, the joy, and the heartache. The lyrics make several points on many levels, but, as with all great art, it touches upon something eternal and Godlike in nature.
Space and the Still Small Voice
I was reminded of this when we recently heard the story of Elijah waiting for God:
And [the Lord] said [to Elijah], “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Jesus went away in silence when He wanted to converse with God. It was not through His miracles and beautiful sermons that He was closest to His Father. These were, instead, the result of that “in between” time which He spent silently with God. It was the quiet times of solitary prayer through which He drew love, strength, and the understanding of God’s will for him.
The Saints have long held that this “in between” silence was the key to knowing, loving, and understanding God and His will for us.
“Beware of much speaking, for it banishes from the soul the holy thoughts and recollection with God.” (St. Dorotheus)
The Space to Listen
We cannot know God, and therefore cannot love Him, unless we listen to Him. And we cannot listen to Him unless we are silent. If we are focusing on what we want to tell God, or how we want to serve God, then we are apt to miss God completely as He makes Himself known in those spaces between our talking. And sadly, we often don’t give Him any space at all.
Similarly, we cannot know or love our neighbor unless we first listen in silence. If we are too focused upon talking to (or at) our neighbor, or determining what we think is wrong with our neighbor, then we are not able to understand or love him. We must listen, truly listen, and then ponder quietly in order to love. For we cannot love what (or whom) we do not know, and we cannot know unless we truly dwell with another in those spaces in between the noises.
The “space between” is so frequently ignored in our society. On average, Americans spend hours daily on some sort of social media device. We tend to rush through conversations, meetings, and time with loved ones. We want to get to the point, the meeting, the high, the kiss, the score.
Before There Can Be Love
The tragic and senseless killings which occur in our nation, whether from a bullet or an abortionist’s hand, will not be stopped by laws or by a governmental body. They will only be stopped by love on a personal level: neighbor to neighbor. Before there can be love, there must be knowledge and understanding. And this can only take place in the spaces between the shouting and the judging.
The space between what’s wrong and right
Is where you’ll find me hiding, waiting for you
The space between your heart and mine
Is the space we’ll fill with time
The space between
The space between