We don’t like waiting in lines. Commercials. Slow cashiers. Serious monotony. Mundane activities. Long traffic lights. Waiting on test results. Waiting on a decision that is out of your control.
Waiting to heal.
Just waiting in general.
Do you like to wait? I haven’t met anyone that does. And yet, it is something a lot of us don’t do well. Or at least I don’t.
But there are times in our lives where we know whether by circumstance or intuition or both that we can no longer do what we have been doing. And instead of having an obvious path, the road takes a turn, the sun goes out and we find ourselves in the dark.
What do we do?
Usually, we reach for the remote. Skip to the end please. Forget this “it is about the journey not destination” crap I hear people say.
We start grasping at straws. Or books. Or food. Or other people. Or false hope. Or a false sense of peace. Or anything really. Looking for answers. Looking for comfort. Mostly, just looking. Trying to find something to alleviate the feeling we don’t want to feel.
And what is the feeling?
Loss. Loss of what was. And maybe fear. Fear of what will be.
Or this nagging suspicion that something isn’t quite right. And it doesn’t go away.
And that can be a very tender very painful place to be.
In those moments words become empty. So do suggestions. Nothing helps. There isn’t an exit. You have a choice, you can either move forward in the dark or you can stay here. You can pretend the pain isn’t there, but it won’t help. In fact, it will only make the journey longer.
Welcome to the Liminal Space. By its definition it is “ a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be.”
The inbetween. The place of not yet. The womb. The dark.
There is a rule while we are in this place. While we wait in this big deep breath before creation speaks. The rule is this: allow time for transformation. Resist the remote and listen.
Most of us don’t.
We don’t stop to wade through the muck and mire. We don’t take time to sit with the questions. We don’t take deep breaths and look around and wonder. We don’t take sabbaticals. We can’t. Our outer world doesn’t allow for it. We are too busy being productive.
So we push things down. And keep going. And if it is not going fast enough, we reach for the remote control. Get me through this process. Speed it up.
But does that really help? Whenever I have done that, I end up making it worse. I take things into my hands only to look down and see them covered in the mud of good intentions.
Here is my challenge to all of you in the Liminal place.
Stay in it.
I know it is hard. I know it is lonely. Very lonely. But stay there. Because if you speed it up it won’t work.
The right thing at the wrong time is still wrong.
When we think of transformation we usually think of a caterpillar and then see the butterfly.
We forget about the cocoon.
At some point that caterpillar knows that its time has come to become something different.
It enters into the darkness.
But we all know what is formed in the dark.
I want a fast forward button sometimes. I want to peak into the future when everything is okay or at least is better. Zip through those awful commercials. Flip to the end of the book to see how it all ends. See the blueprint. See the full picture.
But you know what? I would miss a lot too. I would miss great conversations. Beautiful sunsets. Dinners with friends. Self discoveries. A new perspective. Laughter. A rose blooming. Painful beautiful moments where I feel things deeply but where my heart flies wide open too. And it hurts, but as a wise friend said, “Pain is evidence of healing.”
So, for all of you in this place of in between, will you wait with me? Will you take heart and wait with me? And watch and listen?
Will you stand with me on this threshold?
Will you hold me back if I try to jump too soon?
And when the time comes will you tell me? Will you give me a push?
Because you know what happens after the wait?
You jump off the cliff.