Negative Space…


We were driving along the high rocky coast of the Presidio. The Golden Gate was at our back, the large mirror of the Pacific at our feet.

“The light, it’s blinding,” I said.

“What?” he said.

“The light off the water, it’s blinding. I love how it sets off the negative spaces between the trees.”

I watched the tall cypresses for a moment, turning my head to one side and the other to catch the trees in color, easily delineated from each other. Then back to the middle, low into the sun I looked, to see the lengths of them fuse together into a mass of black cracked only by blinding white splinters. I wanted to carve it, to gouge the long slivers of light out of a block.

“Do you ever think God works backwards?” I said.

“How so?”

“Creates the negative spaces first and lets them determine form.”

“I don’t think it matters,” he said.


“No. Either way, it’s not unintentional.”

It’s not unintentional. Like the edges of a thing and the shapes it creates in relationships are of no surprise.

And I wonder about my edges, the details to which God committed in my creation and the ones that were left to be defined by experience. I wonder at the beauty of the negative spaces between me and each of my friends, each of my children, my husband, how the edges of me and the edges of them form a new shape between us, sometimes as tangible as the stuff in the middle.

How much can you tell about a form from the bumps and hollows of its edges? Does the fact that I love the wind speak of something in my soul? Or does my soul speak into me a love of the wind?

And I wonder at the beauty that is the negative space between me and God drawn in detail from the heights of my victories and depths of my weakness, Jesus, the perfect shape between us.

Does it matter whether God created my details for you or for another, or if my essence or experience determined them, inward or outward, negative or positive? It’s not unintentional.

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