Filling a Vacuum

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” This saying is traced back to the ancient Greek philosophers, probably Aristotle. It has become a statement of fact and observation. Whenever a vacuum exists, it seems that “nature” insists on filling it with something, even it is only air (a colourless, odourless, invisible mixture of gases).

My schoolboy physics is pretty limited but I have seen this in action. On a field trip, my Thermos flask knocked against a tree branch. As the glass inner vacuum tube shattered, air rushed in, chasing the coffee out and making a right mess. Now I have a stainless steel vacuum flask, and that works perfectly.

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Adult life sees more proof in the existence of Hoovers (other brands of vacuum cleaners are available). They suck up the dirt so well. Didn’t Mr Hoover do well to nick the name- even when using a Dyson we say we’re doing the hoovering.

I’ve been thinking about “vacuum” because life-changes make vacuums. I used to have certain obligations and responsibilities at work. Paper round- must deliver. Digging graves for the council as a summer job- they have to be a set size and shape, and in those days it was done with a pickaxe and a spade. Office work… college course… Christian ministry… There were always expectations, timetables, diaries, accountability.

Now I am “retired” and my time is my own (mostly… Juliet has some ideas!).

I’ve started to notice there is a pressure. How will that time be filled? Horror of horrors- if not used profitably, there is daytime television to leach away the will to live… Honestly, I don’t need a funeral plan, I won’t borrow at 1,295%, and I’ve seen those shows before… Save me!

There is time to explore new possibilities. There are many things I could do; and many others that I have had to give up. I’m writing this as part of my response, to find useful ways of using gifts and energy.  I love words, I love pictures. Rather than watch “Homes under the Hammer” I am using this blog as a kind of journal, exploring me-in-my-new-world and hoping somebody else may find common interest.

To leave my life as a vacuum is dangerous. Unless I choose what to fill myself with, something else will take up the space.  “We put forth our best effort to defeat our worst habits. But every attempt to get rid of unclean thoughts, attitudes, and desires is destined to fail because getting rid of one creates a vacuum in our souls. As soon as we empty ourselves of one vice, others move in to take its place, and we end up just as bad or worse than when we started.” – Julie Ackerman, Daily Bread

I need help to fill my vacuum. Writing this is a way of building a structure that can contain the wealth of grace that is available if I make time for God and choose to focus on Christ-like attitudes and actions. Writing helps me think and therefore to pray. Balancing writing with silence and contemplation, and allowing time to seek Presence in Creation and beauty… that will fill the vacuum with what is good, holy, and true.

My photo today was taken down at the beach as a storm was clearing away. A sky full of rain emptied… and sunlight turned it into a double rainbow. A sign of Hope, of Promise, and of Presence. May the Light shine in me; may I be filled with Christ-Light.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NLT)  When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 

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