I am teaching my fifth grade students about volume. We are learning how to calculate the volume of solid objects, but we are also talking about the concept of volume.
What is “volume”? The kids can explain it to you. It means how much space something takes up. How much air or water is displaced and moved out of the way to accommodate the presence of an object.
It can also be used to think about how much material can go inside of something, right? The volume of the container determines how much juice can fit inside of it.
This has all got me to thinking about my own personal volume. How much space in the universe do I occupy? How much air has been displaced by my very presence in this room?
Sometimes it seems like a good use of the universe to have me in it, pushing aside air and water molecules so that I can live and breathe and move.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem like such a good use of space.
And I’ve been thinking about how much volume there is inside me. How much space there is to be filled with something.
Most of the time, I feel pretty full. Full of thoughts and stories and memories and songs. Full of love and joy and sadness and righteous indignation. Curiosity and determination and humor. Most of the time there are a bunch of good ideas in there, filling all that space.
Sometimes, though, I wonder where it all went. Sometimes it is clear that I have become hollow, with all that internal energy just drained right out. Then I am like an empty cube; still taking up space, but serving no useful purpose.
At those times it seems as if I have too much volume. How will I ever fill it up again?