#52sparks: Negative Space

Psalm 46

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.


In the midst of the storm, it is natural to hunker down. To gather your loved ones, your critical supplies, and your valued belongings. You stay close and you stay safe. Time seems to stand still while the thunder outside echoes and lightening flashes through the windows.

When holding so tight that you can feel your heartbeat like footsteps, how could you possibly find rest?

And yet that seeming impossibility is exactly what David calls for the listener to do in Psalm 46.  During the earthquakes, floods, wars, and pandemics, we are to chose to be intentionally still and rest.

I’ll be honest with you, dear reader, and say that I have no idea how to pull that off. Today is my final day of employment with a local university (closed due to financial issues before Covid-19 began). I have thoughts and emotions whirling around inside of me that feel louder than any downpour. What will I do next? When I find a job? What if I get sick? When will there be a vaccine? How can I keep my loved ones safe? Why is that man still in office? The times my inner storm are most quiet are when I am out on runs, when I have to listen to the world around me rather than inside me, or be in danger of getting hit by a car. I need to learn how to create space in the quiet of my own home, where my thoughts are the loudest. Again, I have no idea how. And I know that trying matters.

So here is to the spaces we have, the spaces we need, and the spaces that we create for one another.


“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.

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