The empty spaces make
wholeness. The emptiness in a
pot makes it valuable; you can
fill it with food or water.
Pay attention to what isn’t. Listen
for what your child does not say.
Observe what she does not do.
Similarly, know that your child
uses your empty spaces. What
you do not say resounds. What
you do not do impresses.
– from The Tao of Motherhood by Vimala McClure
The above is a beautiful excerpt from a beautiful little book, The Tao of Motherhood. Had it not been for our week-long, greatly uninvited and grossly unappreciated internet abstinence, I would have written about this beautiful book sooner. However, if you use the Amazon river of greatness, you can STILL have this book delivered in time for Mother’s Day. It’s truly, truly a wonderful little book filled with beauty.
What’s amazing about the words above is this: The reader doesn’t have to be a mother, or even a female, to benefit from the lesson taught in wording so brief.
We can all benefit from the reminder that’s at the heart of this passage. People will learn more from what they see us do than what they hear us say. Sometimes they will get a better indication of our character by the things we DON’T say as opposed to the things we DO say.
My mother was incredibly non-judgmental. She didn’t look down on others, irregardless of their circumstances or abilities/inabilities. She never copped a holier-than-thou attitude. Ever. The thought of her saying something derogatory or insulting about another human being is almost laughable. Of course, there were behaviors that she didn’t condone and if she thought anyone was being cruel or mean-spirited, she’d be the first to say so.
But there’s a difference between hating what people do and hating people, isn’t there? There’s a clear line and she never crossed it.
More importantly, she didn’t have a racist or bigoted bone in her body. She didn’t see color when she looked at people, she didn’t see ethnicity. She saw people – made by God, loved by God. In fact, one of the things I hate most in this world is racism, which is something I strongly shared with my mother.
As a result of the things my mother didn’t say and the hatred she didn’t possess, she raised a daughter who is filled far more with love than with hate.
The “emptiness” of hate and the nonjudgmental attitudes continued to my own three daughters. Because they didn’t hear their mother judging others or being unkind and cruel, they have never taken part in the ugliness themselves. It wasn’t something I sat them down one day and drilled into their heads, “You must not make fun of others or look down on them. Even more importantly, you must not ever be bigoted! ” When you “leave out” certain things in your life, others will notice – whether they’re children or adults.
As Vimala McClure said, “Empty spaces make wholeness.”