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Reform Magazine | May 27, 2024

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On the pilgrim way ‘What I am finding in the emptiness is something else – a new gift’ - Reform Magazine

Sheila Maxey finds inspiration in empty spaces

‘Empty’ feels such a negative word and yet I am beginning to question that. I have a very dear housebound friend whose diary and calendar are almost always empty. That means that whenever I need someone to talk to, to sit and have coffee with, at even an hour’s notice, she is available. I always ring and ask if she is free. And she is not only available but so welcoming, so glad to see me. Her empty diary is a blessing to me.

I am beginning to make use of Kees’ empty study. I find the bare desk and bare shelves lead me straight to the big picture window and out into the garden. The different greens of the trees – sycamore, hawthorn, elderberry, rowan. The restful green of the lawn. The bees still busy with the late summer flowers. The constant activity of the blue tits and the goldfinches on the feeder. It is a place of peace, of silent prayer. My morning prayers upstairs in my study are quite different: a lit candle, my familiar ikons, a Bible reading and reflection, and prayers of concern for family, friends and the needs of the world. They have their place but what I am finding in the emptiness of Kees’ study is something else – a new gift…

Sheila Maxey is a member of Ingatestone United Reformed Church, Essex

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This article was published in the October 2023 edition of Reform

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