Liminal space or “the in-between”

from the book thief


Lately, I’ve been frustrated – tearful at times – with the great in-between I’m in. It seems a chasm, a Grand Canyon between the returning to Kansas and the next unknown season of purpose.

This in-between is “liminal space” or the state similar to no longer being in the house and not-yet out-the-door. Often described as “threshold”, liminality is part of living and not just the province of the weary or broken.

Wrestling with the “empty nest?” Welcome to the liminal space.

Moving into or away from a relationship with a person, college, job, or guiding idea? Liminal space.

Making your way from one great height to the next? That restless yet-known feeling is like your engine light only it indicates that you are in the liminality.

It’s no fun on its own.
Will we fail? Get fired?
Succeed and then what?

But we have choices in this not-knowing place.

We can fling ourselves into the current and passively ride it, we can actively advance to the other side of the slog, or we can let the current take our swimming form where it will as we advance to the shore.

Now, I am aware that this may sound like Lola Granola, but think about it.

When you walked down the aisle and she stood there – as you actively passed from singlehood into marriage and marked it with a ceremony – did you feel unsure, wondering, and giddy?

As you wheeled into your first birthing room both terrified of what lay ahead and SO VERY READY to emancipate this alien form from your own, how did you feel? Though you’d planned and prepared and probably prayed buckets of prayers, it is likely that you experienced the unease of moving from autonomy to having some precious one wholly dependent upon you.

Our identities are challenged. 

We no longer know what to expect…truly.

We are like the colts just learning to walk so soon after birth – wobbly and inexpert at what will soon become “first nature.”

When toddlers learn to walk or adults re-learn to walk, do we demand that they know everything in muscle memory and confidence that we now know as ambulatory beings?

Then why do we demand so much of ourselves as we transition from one focused self – one identity and way of relating to the world – to the next and yet-known?

A a college friend and her family swung by the Hobbit House on their way home to south Texas flowed then into a morning run with my best pal and later into camping and reunion of the Queens (friends forged in fire)…I found myself both grateful and embarrassed. These colleagues of living are so much further along the way of their stable home lives than I am today.

I have family and friends and hybrid “framily“, but like the empty nesters, Freshmen readying for college, and the man who holds his hand out to his love as they stand before the world to pledge their permanence, I am shaking in my bunny slippers.

I want to know. Joyful or terrible, I want to know so I can get started dealing with life along this next road.

Flying this time-of-life solo is getting old, but am I ready to welcome a companionable life into my own?

I feel alternately like a failure and then one with a cautious freedom.

Last night’s yoga was the first in a year. There was quiet, Bob Marley, the perkiest instructor, a friendly face beside, and a heaviness of heart within. I’d blown my Monday dinner date with my friends because I’d lost my credit card again and by the time I relocated it at StoneCold Creamery…I was no good company. The feelings tumbled into an abyss. It felt that I’d blown both the evening’s company, but the last 40 years (minus the kids and “framily.”)

Locked into not-knowing.
A disappointment despite my best efforts… again.

At the end of the yoga practice, we were invited to leave our heaviness of heart behind as we moved into the world of schedules and life outside.

I started crying…sniffling in the quiet.
Filled with gratitude that I am not alone; we are legion in this liminal space.
We can continue to call to one another in the unknown
and make our presence known
and listen
and whisper words of authentic hope
and imperfect love
one to another
along the long road of unknown.

From the tallgrass liminality of Manhattan, Kansas, I am still searching for the North Star.


About allielousch

Engaged in everyday adventures and derring do.
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