Light and Heat

For Christmas, a friend of ours gave us his 55-gallon fish tank and stand after I mentioned on Facebook that we were considering an aquarium for Henry. It was one of many delightful surprises on Christmas morning.

Before we can add fish, we need to make the environment right. Our city water needs to be dechlorinated. A filter has been installed, the rocks have been added, the artificial plants sway next to the rock castle and bridge and tiki hut fish home. All that’s left to do before we buy the fish is install a new lightbulb and make the water warmer. This afternoon at the top of my grocery list is a lightbulb and a submersible heater for our soon-to-be newest residents.

All I need too, really, is a little light and heat.

Warmth and light have defined the last week and a half around here. It’s the in-between period in which most everyone feels a little disoriented after so many weeks of anticipating Christmas and eating all the carbs. We celebrated with family in multiple gatherings with gifts given and received, and it was warm, and it was light. We extended our Christmas celebration with a trip to Kalahari’s indoor waterpark, and it was warm, and it was light. Our friends celebrated a white elephant Christmas with us combined with laughter and drinks on the 27th, and it was warm, and it was light. Yesterday, with our children’s friends over, I played games and read a book and mostly rested, and it was warm, and it was light.

And now, we’re all turning toward a new decade. In the waning minutes of 2019, I’ve sensed with some anxiety a quiet, nudging voice suggesting that maybe I should prepare myself to make space.

For what, I don’t know. Maybe just more space to be warm, more space to be light. More space to do laundry (which I’ve neglected these past few days). Maybe more space to write. Maybe space to breathe. Space to exercise. Space to stare at fish in a tank and reflect on what it means to stop being so busy and just be, just keep swimming (thank you, Dory).

Simultaneously I wonder whether the whole idea of space is a luxury of the privileged, which I am, surrounded by plenty and able to even consider the idea of space, instead of being entirely occupied with meeting my immediate, basic needs. Maybe those are the concerns I need to make more space for, more space for bearing witness beyond these walls.

Maybe “make space” is just the Spirit’s calling to be quieter amidst all the noise, to clear out the clutter of senseless worry. Maybe make space for more hope, less doubt, more confidence, less fear.

Well, anyway, the point is, I don’t know what I’m supposed to make space for, but these are the words I’m hearing these days, make space, make space, make space.

The only space I know to make right now is space to listen and wait on the Lord to make whatever that space is known.

And to make space for fish.

Photo by Gabriel P from Pexels

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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