emptiness is next to Godliness

Today more people died in LA than any other day of this pandemic. Easter. The day Trump targeted as being the day the country would see packed churches and a nation “rarin to go.”

My church was not open, but it did stream its services live on YouTube and the minister said something interesting about all of the empty churches, roads, parks and stores.

She said, on this day over 2,000 years ago something else was empty, and it was great.

Likewise it’s wonderful that we are shutting things down, and sacrificing as one, and doing everything we can to love and protect each other.

Emptiness is not always a negative. In some cases it’s the goal.

Despite the fact that UCSB solidified my love of the Bible and Christianity, it was also the place where I took a Zen Buddhism class that I never forgot.

There I learned that in Zen, you strive to have an empty mind, an empty spirit, no agenda, and zero expectations. Because when you can reach that place, even for a moment – then magic can happen thanks to your openness.

The blank slate. The empty page. The fresh new canvas. All of these may bring about anxiety with fears that we can’t fill them with interesting art. But every masterpiece starts with nothing.

Then a spark.

Then the work.

To honor those whose mortal journeys ended today and in the past weeks, I say we first acknowledge – and not gloss over – their passing.

And then we create with the energy that we know we have. All the strength we’ve saved for a rainy day.

We will not have days like these again, God willing.

Make good use of them. Even if all you do is clear out everything while trying to achieve the impossibility of nothingness.