Liminal space is where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next. Richard Rohr
Hardly anything turns out the way you expected it to, and you’re frequently ready to write life off as too paradoxical and too difficult to endure. Then some indescribable light fights its way through the impenetrable dark. Paula D’Arcy
If these days are anything, they are an indicator of how many of us really do not do so well making peace with the inevitable uncertainty of life. Do we even know how? To be fair, we simply have never encountered this type uncomfortable nor has it been modeled for many. It’s simply not the American way. For some, our control is being called out as an idol. For others, the very nature of this season is to call “normal” into creative question.
As I look at the history of God interacting with his people, I notice He doesn’t have a problem with uncertainty. Actually, it seems like the confusing liminal spaces is where God does His best work! The hardship and humility of the desert is where the Israelites received a new provision, manna. The vulnerability and waiting in the ark where Noah received a dove and a new hope. The uncertain space of the upper room where the disciples received a new power.
More from Rohr: The very vulnerability and openness of liminal space allows room for something genuinely new to happen. We are empty and receptive---erased tablets waiting for new words. Liminal space is where we are most teachable, often because we are more humbled. It’s no surprise then that we generally avoid liminal space! Much of the work of authentic spirituality and human development is to get people into liminal space and to keep them there long enough to learn something essential and new. In this “in between space” we sometimes need to not-do and not-perform according to our usual successful patterns….in order to understand other dimensions of life. We need to be silent instead of speaking, experience emptiness instead of fullness, anonymity instead of persona, and pennilessness instead of plenty.
How do you feel remembered by God these days in the uncertainties of the desert, ark or upper room? How are you making peace in these spaces? Together, let us live one day at a time, accept hardship as the pathway to peace and cooperate with God’s work in our souls, maybe understanding new dimensions of our inner life. This truly is a holy time---and my prayer is that we will reenter the world with a new freedom 😊