A shelf in the bathroom stands empty, and peace pulses through my veins as I gaze at it. It’s a space where a stack of bath towels normally lives, but I’m behind on the laundry right now. I drink in the void, and inspiration swells my chest. Emptiness equals possibilities.
I’ve left walls in my living room blank on purpose. Let the throw pillows sing; let the paint speak, is what I always say. Beauty fills the bareness.
I practice the art of restraint in my home décor, but what if I practiced emptiness more in my speech? I think of the tongue this week because the topic chases me down in three ways; a memory, a verse, and a good idea all come to me when I haven’t asked for them.
I remember my grandma, a woman who guarded her words. She released only the vetted ones and only when the time was right. Her language obeyed the checklist she had set in place: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
True. Helpful. Inspiring. Necessary. Kind.
THINK. A handy acronym for when I want to blurt an assessment of what I see in the world around me. But can I remember to use it?
I’m scouring the internet, searching for the brittle, plastic stuff of life—temporary things—as if they matter. I see a still open tab I don’t recall. I click on it.
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
I chuckle over the old language as well as the verse’s sharp relevance. And I savor it for a minute. I want this to be me. I want to be wise.
I fire off a text to Husband over something forgettable. My day requires me to relay a fact to him. I key in the statement, then add another sentence—a complaint coated in worry. But a good idea rescues me, overpowering my urge to press send. My finger hovers over the button. When do I think through my texts to Husband? Never. He can handle both my positivity and negativity, can’t he? That’s part of a spouse’s job description, isn’t it?
Or is it?
I take a breath and hit delete. My second sentence disappears—and it’s a wise thing. The truth of the first sentence is enough.
I think of all I can say about life, but today isn’t calling me to release those words. Instead, what’s calling is the shelf in the bathroom.
As pretty as the emptiness is, it’s time to fold some towels.
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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.