Embracing the Between-Space

The more I walked, the more I became aware of all sorts of things around me.

Everything seemed to just slow down.

When we got to the top of the last very high hill you could see both the destination in front of us and the road we had traveled behind us. It was totally amazing.

This last Sunday the Bishop-Elect and I had the great opportunity to virtually hang out with the confirmation class from St. John the Baptist in Minneapolis. We had great conversations, sharing all sorts of things, but the young people often went back to their pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. In my humble opinion, there was absolutely no question that that journey was transformational for all who took part, youth and adult.

The Bishop-Elect and I agreed that one of the best things about spending time with young people is how inspiring their stories are. Our time on Sunday was no exception. There was so much in what they shared that spoke to the journey the whole world is on right now. 

Early on in this episcopate transition I shared often about my experience of moving to a liminal space. I have leaned heavily on Franciscan theologian Richard Rohr as my guide during this time. This last week in his daily meditations for the Center for Action and Contemplation, he and others shared their wisdom on liminal space: 

Liminal space is where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next. 

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 

There is deep beauty in the darkness, in the unknowing, in the indescribable, if only we can open ourselves to its purpose. –LaVera Crawley 

What if we can choose to experience this liminal space and time, this uncomfortable now, as a place and state of creativity, of construction and deconstruction, choice and transformation[?] –Sheryl Fullerton

Into this liminal realm, between the known and the unknown, we are invited to enter if we are to learn more of the way forward in our lives as individuals and as communities and nations. –John Philip Newell 

Without standing on the threshold for much longer than we’re comfortable, we won’t be able to see beyond ourselves to the broader and more inclusive world that lies before us. –Richard Rohr

The wisdom of the young people who walked the Camino de Santiago and from other wise theologians and companions makes it clear that there is much to learn in those times of liminal space in our lives, be they individual or communal. While our instinct is often to get through them as quickly possible, the reality is that if we embrace the space between, transformation will unquestionably come our way. 

May it be so for all of us during this season of liminal space in our world and in our lives: that we not only embrace this between space, but that we truly open ourselves to this movement of the Spirit in our midst.

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