Wide Open Spaces

Today, I received a notice from the managers of my apartment complex, along with all the other residents, that informed me that the actual outdoor space over which I have dominion is much smaller than I imagined. I have lived here for about 14 months, and last Spring and Summer, I enjoyed doing some gardening in the actual earth (as opposed to the container gardening I had been doing in my previous upstairs apartment). Having a little bit of ground (very little, mind you. Maybe 20 square feet, tops, spread over several little narrow spaces) to dig into and plant things made me feel more connected to this place, more settled. With the new policy, I’ll have about a third of the ground I used to (that’s right, probably about 7 square feet if I’m lucky), and knowing my emotional fragility, probably about a third of the feeling of security and connectedness.

At the same time, nearly all of my friends are either in the process of buying a home or are already living in a home of their own, and over and over again the issue of space — how much to get, how much is too much, how to use the space they have — keeps coming up. Their spaces seem to be getting bigger, or at least more permanent, and my spaces seem to be evaporating.

Here’s the thing. I’m not sure this is a real estate problem for me. In fact, in a year or two, I may be able to purchase a home of my own. But even then, I think I’ll long for a bigger space, a better place, to call home. Even then, I’ll be looking for more security, more connection.

I think the issue is that the God has given me a desire for a place to be at home in. He wants me to have the blessings and security of wide, open spaces. He wants this for all of us. We’re just looking in the wrong places.

Every time I read the Psalms and find the writer again calling out to the Lord for a wide space to live in; or when the Lord himself reminds the Psalmist that He is the giver of all the kinds of places we long for — high places, broad places, hiding places, dwelling places, places of abundance, places of refuge, places of the generations, I remember that the God who gives me the desire for a place also will provide the place itself. Maybe not where I’m looking, and maybe not when I’m looking.

But he is preparing that place even as I speak. If it were not so, He would have told me.

John 14:2 (New American Standard Bible)
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.