What is the point of a hole? A hole represents the lack of something; for example, the appearance of a pothole in a road often represents a lack of, or poor, maintenance.
I know that driving over, or dropping into, a hole in the road leaves me feeling very shaken and insecure if I haven’t spotted it in time. Sometimes dropping into a pothole can cause lots of mechanical damage to a vehicle and physical damage to its passengers.
And who wouldn’t feel insecure if half of their garden, or worse still, their home, suddenly disappeared into a sinkhole which had opened up in their garden or in the road outside? Larger, often highly publicised sink holes, which swallow up numbers of homes and vehicles almost literally take away the foundations of the lives of those affected. Fortunately, that’s never happened to me!
Smaller holes be very frustrating too, as anyone who has found a hole in a favourite jumper or in their tights on the way to an important meeting or job interview will confirm.
Aren’t holes just annoying? We like and want things to be complete and a hole represents an absence – a lack of – something. It can also represent an emptiness. When someone dies, we talk about their passing having left a ‘hole in our life’ that seems impossible to fill. Holey things (things having holes), are not generally something that we want.
What about wholly though? A slight change of spelling and surely a much more positive word with its meaning of entirety and completeness? After all, a baby or young animal is wholly dependent on its mother during the first weeks of life; being nurtured, fed, cared for and protected.
Despite my ‘butterfly brain’ which always wants to rush on to something else before I’ve finished what I’m doing, sometimes even I feel I’m wholly engaged with something. Usually that makes for much better results than I’d otherwise see!
Being wholly involved and focussed is a real positive for me and, when my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is causing problems, can stop me thinking about the SAD and preventing the depression from building.
So, while a hole can often be annoying, giving attention or care wholly can be a good thing.
What, then of holy which represents neither a lack of something nor a completeness but, simply, utter perfection? What connection do I have with that? What connection can I have with that concept? How can I begin?
Holiness seems to imply a setting aside; a reserving of the best of myself for God yet with an appreciation that I will never achieve holiness through my own power.
I can see clearly the holes in my life: the weaknesses, the times I feel I’ve failed myself and others both past and present and the times when I’ve been too distracted to be wholly devoted to the pursuit of holiness. I’m such a very long way from utter perfection!
I’ve realised that while I can do little or nothing in my own strength, God can do everything. The more I’ve trusted in Him, the more I’ve begun to notice the holes in my life being filled by His Holy Spirit: the holes are always God shaped! It’s an ongoing repair job and there’s always a danger of my falling into sinkholes appearing from nowhere but life is a whole lot more interesting than it’s ever been!
(Do check out two brilliant ‘Holy’ songs: Exalt and Holy is the Lord from the amazing Martin Smith)