Liminality

Do you see yet? Do you see
how to love the wave already breaking
because it is a wave?
Because it breaks?
– Marilyn McEntyre, “Nothing Gold”

liminality (n.)

  1. The transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility, and follows prescribed forms of conduct, dress, etc.
  2. The condition of being on a threshold or at the beginning of a process

Here, now, is all I have. The old has gone; the new has not yet come. I am held, hidden, in the balance.

Each day brings death. Gold from the last season turns to ash in my hands; yesterday’s manna turns to dust on my tongue. The guiding light turns dark.

This is a season of plowing. Any shred of dependence on anything other than the One Holy and Living God is exposed. The blades drag through my soul, like claws scraping across my chest, to uproot, overturn, and soften. The furrows are deep and fertile, but stained with blood.

If I can see past the violence and vulnerability, this day is golden. There is treasure here, but every day I miss it. The moments slip through me, substance-less. I grasp at vapor.

*

These are the characters of my liminal space: my mother, bald and fragile with cancer-killing drugs blackening her fingernails and thinning her already slight frame; my father, driving the long road through the desert for the very last time, coming home to stay; my boys, grown tall, kind, and wide-hearted; my cousin, who has found shelter here.

This day was a day like any other, but today my eyes were open: now my brother and I share thoughts on assignments and concertos during our morning commute; now the rain falls soft on my head and the fog rests heavy on the hills; now I harvest apples and stare into the questioning eyes of a wandering deer; now I read and journal while the drugs drip into my mother’s bloodstream; now my cousin makes me a bowl of kimchi ramen; now the house has emptied out and I dice vegetables and load the dishwasher; now I sit with lemon-ginger tea, shaping the magnitude within me into words.

This, here, now. This is living. This is what it means to be and to become. This is the inheritance of humanity, this moment now, where the timeless intersects time, where the infinite swallows finitude, where heaven invades earth.

God comes to me, not in the spectacular, not in visions or raptures of glory. He dawns in my awareness in these hidden places, in the mundane, in insignificant tasks and moments. He comes to my kitchen while I am scrubbing the stovetop. And my eyes are opened: He never knocked; He never arrived; the Holy and Real has been here all the while.

I am coming again into the deepness of who I was always meant to be. A weighty contentment washes over me; happiness, praise, and perfectionism are too small to be worthy aspirations. I sense my soul expanding: such beauty, such mourning; such hope, such melancholy. This is what I yearn for each day of my life–to get to the heart of being, the deep knowing of the Holy and Real. Each moment is a grace; who knew one soul could hold so much?

*

This is the present, and this is all I have. The old has gone; the new has not yet come. I am held, hidden, in the balance.

I have been given glimpses of the future; they drop in my hands like three-dimensional Technicolor gems in a two-dimensional sepia world. They whisper of all that could be and all that will be. But instead of stirring impatience or discontentment within this liminal season, these dreams remind me to ground myself here. There are treasures in this darkness to illumine my way, there is a deeper measure of grace in this wilderness, there is peace in this in-between space. This darkness goes fast and fleeting, but the beauty is in the transience. The dawn is coming, and it is coming soon.

3 thoughts on “Liminality

  1. Dear Kathryn,
    Your words have ministered to my heart.
    You have a gift of expressing God’s presence in your life that will bless many who are seeking to understand and to be understood when going through the storms of life. May I share your blog with other sisters in Christ?

    1. Hello Eileen,
      Yes! Please do! It is always so beautiful to see how God uses my writing to bless and encourage others, and I would love for more women to taste of the goodness of God as I have. Feel free to share with anyone and everyone 🙂
      Much love!
      Kathryn

  2. What amazing vows..I will take my time and go through them again. I will use it as a checklist for where I am at…thank you for sharing!

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