Poet William Blake wrote, “In the universe, there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”
And those doors are each a threshold so when we stand on a threshold, waiting and wondering, we are in a LIMINAL SPACE.
The space between then and now. The in between.
The word LIMINAL comes from the Latin word, “limens”, meaning threshold. Edge. Doorway.
And now, as we near the end of 2020 – a most unsettling, unrelenting, unforgettable year, as we begin the Season of Advent in the Christian church – a time of preparation and anticipation and expectation – we are at the threshold in so many ways.
This is a time of waiting, and wondering; a time of enduring; a time of just being – standing at the threshold of what was, without knowing what will come when we step through that door. The door to a new year, the door to a new presidency, the door to a vaccine to help us live with the virus that has ravaged so many lives and livelihoods, the door beyond the changes the pandemic forced and cannot be reversed.
Yet this pandemic is not the first or only liminal space we inhabit as human beings. We experience liminal spaces all the time.
Betrayal, with its time between what happened and moving on, waiting to forgive or be forgiven.
At its very least, liminal space is most often a time of discomfort and an opportunity to take stock of our living.
The experience of liminal space encourages us to pause, breathe and live in the moment. To recognize that change is always happening, and to give us space to adjust and adapt and move forward – through the door – into what is new and different.
It is not easy, not when it so often comes because of loss. Whether it is the loss of a job, a dream, a pet, a partner, there is grief, sometimes deep enough to render the light a mere glimmer. The loss of hope is perhaps the hardest loss – for what is our future without hope?
So as we head into the month of December, into this season of waiting, of preparation and anticipation and expectation, this holiday time of year when it is almost impossible to bear the weight of sorrow and longing and anxiety,
let us find the holy in our days – the moments of joy, the breaths of gratitude.
Let us remember there is grace and courage in this space, even if we’re flooding it with tears.
Let us remember to breathe, and wait, and prepare
for the moment when we are invited to step over the threshold
and through the doorway from that which is known and into the unknown.