“I don’t see it. What’s the attraction?”
“I dunno. It fills gaps, I guess.”
“I dunno, gaps. She’s got gaps. I got gaps. Together we fill gaps. I dunno.”
That’s one of my favorite scenes from Rocky. While standing in the refrigerated section of a large meat processing facility, Rocky is trying to explain to his friend, Paulie, why he likes Adrian, Paulie’s sister.
The movie pictures Rocky as a thoroughly simple man with simple desires in life. He’s blue collar through and through – hardworking and humble. Others mistake that simplicity for stupidity or incapability. Yet, beneath that simple exterior lies a man of unexpected depth and salt-of-the-earth wisdom. And this scene captures that well. On the surface, Rocky is a man who can only communicate how he feels in only the most elementary terms – filling gaps. In its simplicity, though, he describes an incredibly poignant sentiment. He has gaps that need to be filled – gaps that he can’t fill on his own.
I have gaps, too. In my walk with Christ there are blindspots, weaknesses, and deficiencies, which I can’t fill on my own. God has given me a loving wife to walk alongside me to help me see those gaps. I have brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I commune who sharpen dull edges and smooth out rugged surfaces. I have the Holy Spirit to do the transforming work.
There are also gaps all around me. My wife, my kids, my friends need me to be an intentional, influential, and consistent presence. My church needs me to serve in a way that accords with who God created me to be. My neighbors need me to compassionately engage with them.
None of this gap-filling happens by accident. It requires willing forethought and specific action. I can’t fill my own gaps, but I can open my life to others. Once I slow down to observe the needs around me (a crucial first step!), I have to respond by stepping into those voids.