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No Dead Spaces Allowed

just_breathe_by_randy_elrodAs a young impressionable worship pastor, one of the first hard lessons I learned from my Pastor was to “fill in the dead spaces”. For some unfathomable and unexplained reason a “dead space” in our westernized evangelical church services was akin to the unpardonable sin. If, God forbid, a dead space happened inadvertently, the Monday evaluation meeting was like a funeral.

Somehow it didn’t seem right back then. And now that I’m older and subjected to more noise than ever, it seems ludicrous.

Next time you find yourself feeling annoyed by a noisy environment—no matter where it is—try this bit of advice to quiet the cacophony.

Find space to…just breathe. My Mom would tell me as a rash and impulsive boy, “Now, Randy, take a big breath and quiet yourself”. Even if you can’t find time in your schedule to slip out to a place of peace like Kalien, find a place close by that has dead spaces. Yep, you heard me, dead spaces.

Whether it’s a library, an empty church, a park, wherever, find it and then take a big breath and quiet yourself for a moment, and then listen. To the dead spaces. They just might surprise you. With life. We tune out the sounds of life in our hurry to nowhere.  Sit up tall, close your eyes, and let your face and body relax.  One Zen master, Edward Jones, suggests you might feel a connection between your jaw releasing and your ears softening.

Breathe naturally and take a few minutes to listen…and savor the aroma of life all around you. Relax and take in what is around you. It’s amazing how you feel even after one minute of enjoying these “dead spaces”. Many times alone in our forests here at Kalien I initially think I’m surrounded by absolute quiet, only to pause and identify ten to fifteen layers of sound—layers of life. Now that I am much older, I tend to listen more. And I’ve found those dreaded dead spaces are some of the most life-filled times of my journey.

I’m thinking God (whoever he or she is) probably knew that all along.