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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: So Much Room


Editor’s note: As a part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, former DC Service Corps volunteer, Kathleen Strycula, reflects on the blessing of empty spaces.

There’s a guest room in my home. It’s the first house I’ve lived in that’s big enough to have a room dedicated to visitors, and I love it. Only a couple months in, it has already seen a good number of occupants. Between those times, it is empty. But the emptiness isn’t forlorn; it’s an open space to be filled.

It’s not hard to find empty spaces in the world around us, but we also encounter them internally. The empty cubicle across from us. The empty seat beside us. The empty day with nothing planned. The empty spot in our hearts.

Nowadays, we often run from emptiness. We spend so much time trying to fill up our lives, our days, our hearts. We feel incomplete if we don’t have everything planned and filled out. We get uncomfortable if we spend too long sitting quietly.

But what if that emptiness is a blessing?

If there wasn’t an open space in my house, I couldn’t offer hospitality to friends. If there wasn’t an open cubicle, I wouldn’t be able to join a new workplace and meet new coworkers. And if my calendar was planned out to the minute, I would have no time to spend an evening just catching up with a friend when they need to talk.

There’s a song called “Room” by Jillian Edwards that I’ve been listening to a lot recently. “There’s so much room for you here,” the chorus goes. I love the music and the singer’s voice, but most of all, it is the promise of a welcome that makes me turn the song on repeat again and again.

Where there is open space, there is the opportunity for hospitality. So what if hospitality comes down to that: embracing and offering our empty spaces, literal or otherwise?

Had there been an empty room at the inn, the innkeeper would have witnessed God being born under his roof. If that’s so, just imagine what our open spaces could hold.

Count your emptiness as you would a future blessing. God is giving you extra space to be ready for something that is yet to come.

Reflection question: What or where are the empty spaces in your life?

Kathleen Strycula joined DC Service Corps in June 2016 after graduating from the Catholic University of America. As the graphic design associate for Franciscan Mission Service, Kathleen draws upon her minor in studio art as she designs and creates promotional materials and other design projects for FMS. Kathleen has developed her graphic design skills for FMS' print and web products while living within a community of other young adult volunteers.