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I once saw a woman staring, emptily. She was staring at a relationship.

I once saw a man staring, emptily. He was staring at a room filled with power just out of his reach.

That word; emptily. It is a word that is used to describe a feeling; like something is missing. It can so easily be perceived by the eager observer. All you have to do is look and see it.

Not getting caught up with it, now that is the hard part.

For every piece of individual emptiness, there is also a fullness. For something to be attained, something else usually must be sacrificed (a trade-off or an opportunity cost).

There are those few who would tell you that they have it all. Those few are probably not being truthful. And those few are probably now caught up in the throes of some variation of greed or acquisition (and we are not necessarily talking about money or power here).

But all of that is not inspiring. Staring emptily is not inspiring. Getting caught up in the empty stare of another is depressing. This does not mean, however, that it is emotionally unhealthy to attach or connect to an empty stare. The health of such an attachment or connection is dependent on the length of time absorbing it or the length of time processing it. Obsessing about an empty stare can be fruitless.

Maybe the personal witnessing of an empty stare is inspiring though. It inspired this small blurb of writing. Perhaps the impact of an empty stare is more powerful than we may think. Then again, the inspiration of it must also depend on who witnessed it.

It makes me wonder – what does it mean to be inspiring?

To be inspiring, must we flip every negative on its head and see only the positive?

Can you witness the emptiest of stares and somehow see the light in it?

Matthew Polkinghorne

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