There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that caught my attention. The Philadelphia 76er’s have a 4-point line. Nobody else in the NBA has a 4-point line ~ and theirs isn’t real either; it’s imaginary. But the results are astounding. I am not sure how this effects the 76er’s stats (I didn’t get that far into the article,) but the results are astounding.
The premise is to get the players to begin to take more shots from a distance and get comfortable shooting from behind the 3-point line (duh.) But also …. Having two of the five players just hanging out in the back court (at around this imaginary 4-point line) creates more space around the rim; there is less traffic at the place where the points are made. This creates more options, opens opportunities and lessens the distractions for the shooter, as there are less defensive players in the way.
And this is why I didn’t get that far into the article; I had an “aha” moment. I was instantly reminded that this is just like a contemplative life. We are constantly pounded and overstimulated with the message that we need to do more, produce more, be more, when in actuality it is the exact opposite. The results of a life lived with more space and less distraction are, well, also astounding. We all understand the benefit of practice in sports, music, dance and art; practice builds muscles and muscle memory. But not all of our practices are healthy and a rewiring is required to create new responses. New wine demands fresh skins, Jesus reminds us.
My husband and I have recently moved to a new area of California. I have had many moments of feeling as if I had too much space, and those moments do still visit me on occasion. But my focus has been to hang around at the 4-point line; to let the space happen and see what creativity, what opportunity and what new adventure comes to me from this open intentional space.
A contemplative life is a radical choice these days. Create some space by spending an hour with a spiritual witness/companion/director. This is a great place to start. Create some space by, well, letting yourself get bored. Create some space by taking a walk in your neighborhood, stopping to chat with neighbors. Create some space by playing (you remember how to play, right?) You get the idea; create some space. No one is going to give it to you because most of our culture wants to take things from you. Go be in the image of God and create.