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Make space

Make space

A new friend shows me how.

As Clint and I finish our lunch at a Memphis restaurant and climb into his car, I tell him why I want to see his studio. We are recent acquaintances – having been introduced online by a mutual friend (thanks, Eddie!) – we have chatted a few times on Zoom. He’s an animator who is deeply committed to Jesus, so we’ve found many similarities in our lives. During those engaging conversations, I could see his studio in the background filled with an assortment of curiosities.

A few weeks ago, I received a request to scribe in Memphis for a day. I reached out to Clint to see if we could meet in person, adding my wish to see his workspace. He kindly agreed.

I tell him I’m mulling over something I recently learned in Genesis 1. In God’s act of creating, Days 4-6 mirror Days 1-3. In the first three days, God makes three spaces: the high heavens, the sky and water, then the land. Then in the following days, he correspondingly populates each – with celestial beings, flying and swimming creatures, then, finally, land animals and humans.

I am toying with the idea that this is a life principle: we first make a space and then fill it. It applies, obviously, to physical spaces. But it holds for relationships, too.

Clint receives this idea with something akin to wonder, as if I just handed him a small treasure. His open enjoyment of a new idea surprises me. It’s a rare thing in my world.

His studio gives silent testimony to this trait. It is crammed full of oddities, like an Island of Misfit Knickknacks. I am enthralled, because it’s a view into the way he thinks, what drives his highly creative and quirky visual storytelling.

There’s an abundance of imagination on display here – pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

God was after abundance, too. His intent was for life to thrive, filling the land. But first he had to establish an open arena for that to happen. He did that by separating elements – the night from the day, the waters from the waters, the waters from the land.

Clint has done that for me. He pushed back commitments to give us room to talk, to tell stories and share our lives. Our conversation was as packed with overlapping ideas as his studio!

How do I need to make room for people? For most of my life, this has been a time issue. But as my life simplifies and slows down, I find my schedule is more flexible. I have open slots. Now I need to fill them.

But this is more than just adding names to a calendar. This is relational investment. In 2 Cor. 7:2, Paul makes this appeal: Make room for us in your hearts… you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.

That intense bond doesn’t happen overnight. It evolves over time, driven by intentionality and the selfless love of Jesus.

But it starts with making space.

Father God, we would never have known you had you not made intentional room for us in your family through your Son’s sacrifice. Teach us how to make room for others – in our schedules and in our hearts.

Reader: Tell me one way in which you’ve recently created space for people in your life. I’d love to be inspired!

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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