Beauty in the Empty
I recently watched Running the Sahara, a moving film about three extreme endurance athletes who ran across the Sahara Desert. All of it. Like from one coast of Africa to the other. The film was well made, well written, inspiring, and moving. It's one of the better films and documentaries I've seen in quite a while.
Towards the end of their 4,500+ mile run, one of the runners said of the Desert, "It's so arid here, and so empty. And so beautiful." This comment paralleled his personal journey through the four-month ordeal. He was physically empty, running on fumes past the pyramids toward the Red Sea. And there was wonderful beauty in that for him. He spent it all in order to gain something he could not lose. That feeling of completion - at the expense of total exertion - was beautiful.
It's time we find beauty in the empty.
When you go to bed at night, exhausted beyond description from a day at work, a day of parenting, or a day of living - that is beautiful.
Crying with a friend until there are no more tears is a solemn, sacred act.
Working out until your muscles cannot move so that your health will be better tomorrow than it is today is worthy of admiration.
When you mourn the loss of something or someone, mourn well and mourn completely.
Restlessness is a symptom of the disease known as Not-trying-hard-enough. Get up. Get to work.
Panting and gasping for air after running up a hill or down a street or through an airport is a chance to appreciate breath and the life it gives.
Abandoned lots and empty hearts are not full of waste. They are full of potential. It's time to plant something.
Love until you think you have no more love left. Love those who deserve it and those who don't. Love until it hurts, until it costs you something. You may very well find your love never runs out, but is like an eternal flame that gets ever stronger the longer it burns.
Hope beyond reason for something better. Hope until your heart's deepest longing cannot be satisfied by anything less than what the universe is calling you toward.
Give away your last nickel to someone who needs it more than you. Know that your poverty can make someone else whole.
And when your body aches and your head hurts, when your soul is weary and your heart is exhausted - then, my friends, you will see the beauty in the empty, of what it's like to give everything for something that matters. And therein lies the indescribable beauty of a life well lived.