I have always appreciated the beauty of a blank page. It can be scary, but for me it has always been easier than the half-filled page. It is easy to start new; it is hard to devote myself to big, old, unfinished projects.
This same principle made my first semester of college a joy. College is full of blank pages. New friendships, new classes, new professors, a new major, new nicknames, sometimes even a new identity.
For the first few months, it was easy. Everyone was a potential friend. I introduced myself to people in classes, meetings, the lobby of my dorm, and even the laundry room. And we became friends from a convenient distance.
These “friends” didn’t know me. They didn’t expect anything of me. All it took was a little bit of conversation and a little push outside my comfort zone. Just like starting a blog post, or a story, or a poem: easy. But I can’t go through college with a bunch of empty relationships anymore than I can go through a Professional Writing class with a bunch of empty pages.
So, enter, second semester. There are expectations. I have a dearly loved roommate, a discipleship group with five godly women, a wing with twenty two other girls, a boyfriend, a family, and friends from home I cannot neglect any longer. They all claim some amount of my attention and time. And it’s not a bad thing, because I claim theirs too.
But it’s hard. That’s why an unfinished section of this blog post floated around my drafts for months. I didn’t want to work through the horrible lack of inspiration. So I didn’t work at all.
It’s hard not to quit when you don’t feel the same way as your friend and you’re both just tired of slogging through the tension between the two of you. Or when your roommate’s upset and you need to spend time with her but you have a million other things on your mind. Or when the words don’t come easy with your significant other anymore and the time is taken up by other things and you’re just so tired and you have an early class tomorrow and you really should go to bed now but you’re both in desperate need for something to change and neither of you knows what. It’s hard.
But until we slog through the trenches of hard love, we cannot really know love at all. Perhaps this is why Christ focused his time on earth on just twelve disciples, spending the majority of his time with them. Even though Christ can and does give himself to all people, and certainly he poured time into the masses, he gave these twelve special privileges.
He let them enter the Garden of Gesthemane with him before he died. He shared the Last Supper with them. He let them drain his energy and time. To narrow things down even more, he revealed the intensity of his character to just a few disciples. He showed them new heights of glory in his Transfiguration and new depths of pain in his prayers the night he was arrested.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how many people we know. It just matters that we invest deeply in a few people, pouring out for them our energy, time, and love. Ultimately, regardless of whether or not we feel love, God calls us to do love.
And the beauty is that rich rewards lie on the other side of our efforts. That is the beauty of a full page. We get a story. It’s not exciting to slog through the daily chore of loving the people who invade our personal space, but it’s ten times more satisfying than shallow relationships could ever be.
Jesus never said it would be easy. Thankfully for us, he has gone before us. All we have to do is hop from one footstep to another, knowing that Christ is good to his followers.