Rushing to arrive at an empty space with no deadline or outside force compelling urgency. The rush comes from within. Something of the ego-driven desire to be first, to seem omnipresent.
The parking lot outside the office is empty at 6:30 a.m., my most frequent and preferred time of arrival. Like an empty canvas, filled repeatedly with colorful variety, then whitewashed for another days creation.
I park in the same spot, the farthest from the doors, in spite of the lack of competition – my typical, stubborn desire to avoid the clamoring near the closest or most convenient.
With keys and bag in hand, I climb the small hill to the doors, bend to pick up the daily paper in its plastic sheath and stride over the curb to the double glass doors. Insert the key, pull the door to me so the latch will turn away, and lock it again behind me. Locked in, comforted by the temporary barrier, soon to be breached by those also in possession of a key, but pleased with the temporary isolation. Another door, another lock, then the alarm code, and silence.
This is my favorite part of any day. It’s the emptiness; not devoid of humanity, but filled with its ghostly, empty presence. Lives at work, and their evidence fills this space. Darkness, quiet and the reality of souls absent.
My mind imagines a time lapse of this place as an entity of its own, quiet in darkness, then filling, overflowing, billowing with activity from outside itself, as a flower garden dawning to the swarm of the worker bees, then relishing the reprieve of the sunset, when its fruit can be replenished with vitality for another day.
The comfort, the secret joy of such a space, I imagine, draws its appeal from from my own deep-seated, pastor’s-kid memories of empty church sanctuaries, dark but for light pushing through stained glass. The walls still dripping with the songs, prayers, sermons, and the silent cries of the human heart, and the aroma of the one to whom they have all been addressed.