So I’ve been reflecting on the concept of passages, how we pass through to new places and new stages and even new ways of being throughout our lives.
In my sermon on Sunday, I’m pretty sure I’ll be speaking about liminality, and passing under the door lintel. These are two words that come from the Latin, limen, meaning threshold, or boundary.
At each new phase in our lives, we pass over a boundary, pass through a threshold, and it can be seriously disorienting. We may wonder who we are or who we might become. (There is a great wikipedia article about liminality that I enjoyed reading today.)
What is it that can support us, strengthen us, carry us through periods of liminality? I need to know there is something stable in the midst of the instability, the transition.
Spiritual practices that remind us of God’s presence are very helpful for me. When I give up the idea that everything rests on me, and I embrace the idea that everything rests on God and I only have to do the best I can with my little piece, then I breathe a sigh of relief. My pounding heart begins to slow it’s pace and my shoulders drop a couple of inches.
Here is a poem about water on the move. There’s a tradition of calling moving water “living water.” Isn’t that what Jesus promised to be for us? Living Water.
The narrator describes how nature is “unimpressed” by the burden he thinks he carries. My favorite line is about how the water “even made a little song out of all the things that got in its way.”
Now that’s perseverance without burden.
Passage by John Brehm
In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.
from Help is on the Way. © The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.