Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Friends in Thin Places: Looking for Liminality

Approaching another New Year, I find myself pondering the purpose of my own experience once again.  This has been a rough year all around, and without knowing why, I've found myself feeling frustrated, and even angry, for days on end.  I fought the feelings with vigor, pretending I was different and that somehow I could rise above my own humanity.  You see, after everything hit the fan and I found myself biting the heads off people who did not deserve my wrath, I began to realize that perhaps at least part of my problem was simply that I am human.  Humans get tired.  I have been multi-tasking, being strong, working hard, going to school, doing an internship, building a new marriage, watching my children grow up and out, trying to keep the peace between others, and trying to figure out what I'm called to be when I grow up for so long, I have no idea how not to be so busy.  It's been a couple of weeks since I had the first indication that I've been too busy for too long.  I just had no idea that it was building to the point that I was going to blow.

It could have been worse, of course.  It could have been like it was when I behaved poorly during my certification process with my previous denomination.  This time, I didn't do or say anything I couldn't apologize for with sincerity and have it be accepted at face value.  The unfortunate part is that it isn't over.  I'm still busy, but as I begin this last approach to the new year, at least I have an sense of when the worst of it will have passed.  The problem is that I don't know what to do with it.  I have a list of things I need to work on, not the least of which is to envision where St. Brigid in the Desert is headed as a church.  I promised the greater Universal Anglican Church a class for the online seminary almost 2 years ago, I think.  I need to work on that.  Yet, knowing that I have these and other projects ahead of me, I fear that first step.

There was a time, not so very long ago, that I was always aware that I stood on the threshold to a new life.  I felt joy looking forward into a new day, knowing that there is always not only hope, but expectation in the awakening.  I felt magick in the air on cold moonlight nights and sensed a shift in time and space as I walked the labyrinth or sat beneath my tree in meditation.  In my home office, I have a wood block wall hanging into which is carved a saying from my childhood:  "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."  I lived by that saying, expecting a spark of inspiration and a reminder of the divine every single day.  I found liminal spaces in all kinds of places.

As 2014 drew to a close, I lost that sense of newness with the sunrise.  I could not find a place where I felt God's Presence for more than a few moments.  All I felt was tired.  I was very tired, and very separate from All That Is.  I had built a wall of busy-ness around me.  I created a cell of certainty that I knew where I was going and why I was going there.  I don't know why I built it, but I do know that whenever it has begun to crack in the past, I have filled those cracks with more busy-ness and more certainty.  Eventually, I guess my wall was so solid there was no "breathing room" left.  No room for flexibility.  No room for God to breathe new life into mine.  There was nothing left to do but curl up inside the wall and give up, or burst.

I discovered the first trickle of air coming into that cell when I chose to pick up my old-school journal and a pen a couple of weeks ago.  There's something about writing out one's thoughts in good old-fashioned cursive that makes them real, rather like confiding in another person.  Amorphous thoughts begin to take form.  Looking back into the journal, I was reminded of earlier goals and of dreams both literal and ideal.  A journal is a liminal place, a space between then and now, here and there, within and without.  I remembered how much I needed that, and I remembered the importance of my friends.

We all need friends who will not only listen to us when we whine, complain, scream, and bite the heads off innocents, but who can also point out the places where we might find a crack in the wall we've built around ourselves.  I need friends who recognize the Thin Places.  The places where our spirituality and our physical lives meet.  The places where we can meet with God.

 Perhaps I have been going through what St. John of the Cross called "dark night of the soul."  The light, of course, always present, but unseen.  Unseen, that is, until I allowed myself to hear the voices of those who bid me rest, to let go of the perpetual motion of my life.

Thank God, I say, for my friends in the Thin Places. I give thanks for those who have stood where I am and who can help me remember how to find that place where God speaks to me once again.  I am not sure my veil of confusion has fully lifted, but because I have friends who recognize the liminality in the mundane, I can feel a little bit of the sunrise.


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