By: Emily Meeks
I opened and re-opened the MP4 file on my desktop, but the video I created would not play. A right click on the file showed “Zero bytes” – no content. I had spent hours editing the video and now could not share it for review.
I tried troubleshooting: watching YouTube “how-to” tutorials, restarting, reinstalling iMovie. The file still would not play.
Finally, I gave up and called AppleCare. The representative surprised me with her patient manner – “I am with you,” she said at the beginning as though she could sense my frayed patience and escalating frustration.
The solution? I needed to wait.
You see, the video file was such a large size that iMovie required significant time to export the full file. What appeared on my desktop served more as an empty “container“ – awaiting the transformation of the full content to fill.
I thought about this empty file as I journeyed through Holy Week. It is not easy to be vulnerable in empty spaces. At times it feels more productive to scramble my own options rather than to wait patiently for what might be revealed.
“In the fullness of time, put all things in subjection under your Christ” — these words from Eucharistic Prayer B remind me that time, in the context of faith, is dimensional and not always measurable. We balance the present with completeness being fulfilled in time – the tension of living out our longing for union. We practice yielding (and at times flailing) to participate in a process of faith that is not timestamped but continuing to be made new.
“What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.”
– John O’Donohue, For the Interim Time
These moments of reflection on emptiness and fullness brought up an image from my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Petra, Jordan, I climbed up 900 rock steps to see Ad Deir, known as the Monastery – because of crosses scratched into its sandstone walls. Along the way the rains came down all around, spilling over rock and filling in crevices and indentions. I noticed a basin set out by a Bedouin man at one of the highest viewpoints. I stood and watched how it cradled each raindrop, slowly filling in over time – a precious resource in a desert city of more than 2,000 years. I did not wait to see it brim over with water, but I left knowing that it would be filled.
There is a saying about positivity and negativity– that to see the glass half full is to take a more positive perspective. I wonder though if when we see a glass half empty, we think about the possibility of transformation in what is received, what takes shape in the empty space.
I long for the immediacy of knowing the answers to my questions and assuaging what is uncomfortable. It is challenging to wait for the arrival of the new dawn when I am focused on only the conceivable measures of time.
Easter reminds me that in the fullness of time – not by my Apple Watch or Google calendar – I can expect for the empty spaces to be filled and be a source of new faces and stories that will stream through and tell of faithfulness, humility and union.
Emily Meeks loves finding adventure and connection outside, especially while running, biking, hiking and kayaking. She attends and serves at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle.