Living in the White Spaces


A few weeks ago my wife and I attended an art exhibit featuring Charles Brindley. While we were walking among his incredible sketches and paintings a gallery security person let us know that Mr. Brindley was coming to the gallery and would be leading a brief tour. We stayed and were so impressed with this man’s ability, humility and kindness.

Mr. Brindley’s specialty is sketching trees. Many of his works are labors of 300 to 400 hours and the images display incredible detail and emotion.

What’s even more fascinating is that Mr. Brindley’s works are trees in winter. They are of hibernating trees without leaves. He told us, “Trees in summer are just green blobs. But, I love the branchology and the white spaces found in winter trees.”

His thinking about white spaces struck me. How many times do I look at something and ignore the white spaces—the gaps between the branches?

It’s in the gaps where we find transition. It’s in the gaps where we find the light. It’s the gaps that give us freedom, and the room, to grow. And, it’s in the gaps when we need the most faith.

Branches bring stability and something to hold onto. But, they also can break. Leaves bring not only Mr. Brindley’s blur, but they hide the issues—broken branches, rotting limbs, bird’s nests and the white spaces.

While many people seek the branches, let’s face it; we live most of our lives in the white spaces. We’re not just out on a limb; we’re in a white space looking for something to hold onto. Some choose to hurriedly leap to another branch, while others choose to wait, in the white space, on God and His plan, His future, and His choice for the next branch.

We can look at the Bible and find the white spaces—Abraham on a hill with Isaac, Joseph in prison, Peter by the camp fire, Jesus on the cross, and a blinded Saul on the Damascus road to name a few. They each give us an example of faith necessary to live in the white spaces.

I want to thank Mr. Brindley for his art and his life lesson. I’ll never look at another tree in winter quite the same. Nor will I live my life in fear of the white spaces.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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