When We’re Empty

Editor’s Note: Today’s picture was captured by the remarkable writer, photographer, Mudroom alumna, and friend— Dorothy Greco. You can find more of Dorothy’s words and images at her website, dorothygreco.com. 


Here in the wastelands of February, we brush up against brilliance.

We behold winter’s splendor—as she blankets sleeping soil with trains of white and adorns naked trees with diamond trimmings.

But, it’s not that.

Winter is breathtaking, for the first few times we tidy up after her. By February, she begins to feel more like a guest who’s worn out her welcome. “Will she ever leave for that other hemisphere?” we sigh, as we scrape shovels over sidewalks, peel off rain-soaked layers, and peek out windows to greet another dreary day.

We find winter’s brilliance not in what she conceals, but what’s unveiled in her icy blend of solitude and scarcity. We find it in our own emptiness.

As the hibernating black bear’s stomach growls, and ground squirrels dig in frozen fields for buried treasure, we—too—feel winter’s hunger pangs.

We see commercial attempts to fill this seasonal void everywhere: in store aisles, drive-throughs, and in the grins of green-sashed grade-schoolers who knock on our doors. Nestled here, between chocolate hearts and Valentine kits (that forever fall short of our kids’ class totals), are the first signs of spring: EASTER CANDY. Add Shamrock Shakes to this metabolic disruption of Girls Scout cookies, Cadbury Crème Eggs, some Peeps—and you’ve opened a pastel Pandora’s Box. It’s not just the sugar rush we crave after a January of diets, cleanses, and New Year resolution fails. We long, in the deepest recesses of our souls, to be filled again.

We long for spring.   

How we fill ourselves—and with what—infinitely matters. Just ask yourself after you’ve polished off another box of Thin Mints. . . It maters literally, but metaphorically, too. It matters to ourselves, our communities, our world, and especially to God. It’s a theme that threads all of Scripture, from the first bite of forbidden fruit in the garden to God’s invitation for the thirsty to “Come!” in Revelation’s final lines.

It’s sung in a pregnant Mary’s Magnificat to the One who “has filled the hungry with good things.

It’s implicit in the Jesus’s well-side conversation with the Samaritan woman.

It’s the pathos in Paul’s prayer for the early church as he pleads for them to be “filled up to all the fullness of God.”

It sits as a symbol in the Upper Room, as Jesus breaks the bread and pours the cup just hours before his death.  

It’s this theme of “Fill” that we endeavor to explore with you throughout February—on the pages of our blog, in our podcast with author and speaker Sharla Fritz, and in all of our connections and conversations with you.

As we weather February together, let’s embrace the brilliance of these days laced with waiting and want. Let’s pay attention to how we fill our empty spaces. And, let’s look to the One who answers our hungry hearts and thirsty souls with “Come!”

Image Credit: Dorothy Greco at dorothygreco.com.

Nichole Woo
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