The Space Between

The first time I heard the song “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews Band, I only heard the refrain, and specifically only the words “space between”. I was not in a quiet place at the moment so the rest of the words were kind of muffled. The music had this haunting quality that drew me into the melody. I anxiously anticipated hearing the song again.

Before I heard the song again, I remember thinking what a great idea for a love song. The space between us when we are apart is too much. I long to be with you again. How not only space, the physical distance between us separates us, but time separates us too. How even the space between us when we are together is still too much. How I long to be even closer with you, even in our most intimate moments. Our minds, our hearts, our souls are not completely merged into one. Although we are close as possible, we can still be closer, there still exist a space between.

I thought of other metaphors the song could have played into, but when I finally did hear the whole song, I was disappointed. I had to look up the lyrics to confirm it. Yep! The line “The space between, our wicked lies…” just threw my thoughts about the song out the window. The song seems to be about somebody lamenting over his or her break up with a lover. That kind of space between was not what I was hoping the song was about.

Yet, I still cling to the idea of “the space between.” We all long for intimacy with another human heart. (Note, I am not necessarily talking about intimacy in sexual terms.) “The space between” makes us feel isolated, alone, separate, fragmented. We long for contact, connection, wholeness. And when we feel some level of contact or connection, we long for a more deeper, fuller connection. No matter how close we get to another human heart, there is still a longing for more. There always remains some space between.

All of this of course, like all the great love songs that do not talk about physical love, applies to God. We long to know, to serve, and to love God. As I re-read the lyrics to this song, I get this strange sense, that in a way, it applies to God and us. As if God is saying to us:

Love is all we need dear
The space between…is where you’ll find me hiding,
    waiting for you
The space between, your heart and mine
Is a space we’ll fill with time
The space between…

The sad irony is that all the saints, especially the ones known as mystics, say that God is already in our hearts. The space between exist not outside of ourselves, but within ourselves, within our own hearts.