Hope – On the Threshold . . .

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A few nights ago, after an especially harrowing day, I relented and moved dinner out to the porch. My husband is currently leading a high school mission trip and I am single parenting for eight days.  The boys are obsessed with sitting on our porch, watching the world go by or running through the grass in the front lawn.  Once we spread out on the concrete, everyone was quiet for a moment.  Drew, my youngest at 2 ½ , sighed and observed, “It’s beautiful, Mommy! It’s beautiful. Nice, nice, nice.

I looked at him and asked, “What’s beautiful?

Those trees, Mama. Beautiful.

We hadn’t gone far—just out to the front porch.  The transition, the change of scenery, the moment to sit down and be nourished after a long day was all it took, though.  Drew saw the beauty in the ordinary—basic trees, planted by the City thirty years ago, trees that cause frustration and angst due to invasive roots, but trees that were beautiful in the evening sunlight.

In three weeks we will be closing this current chapter of our lives in the Silicon Valley, heading north to Oregon.  Transition and change are two things I fight.  I love comfort, community, normalcy and routine.  As we box up books, clothes, dishes and toys, it is a daily fight to see the process as an adventure.  While excited about what lies ahead, the road there is bittersweet.  My oldest son, at six years, seems to be feeling many of the same emotions as me—not ready to let go of the comfortability of dear friendships forged over time, or known routines and traditions cemented during the last few years.

As we walk this road, I have thought long and hard about the spiritual practice of transition.  Transition involves goodbyes, the in-between and new life to establish ahead.  The “in-between” is a place of unknowns, shaky footing & often, fear.  Recently, a guest preacher shared about the anthropological concept of liminality.  If comes from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”.  Liminality is the time of ambiguity and disorientation that naturally occurs during the “in between”.  You can no longer cling to the original traditions, expectations and community once known.  Additionally, the new structures, community and identity has not yet been reached.  It is truly a threshold.

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar and author, writes in Wondrous Encounters:  Scriptures for Lent a wonderful description of this concept.  [Good]

Knowing how to process this reality for myself is overwhelming.  Some days I blindly pack boxes, say goodbyes to friends and reassure my children that all is well, knowing deep down that I am floundering.  How do we help children process these times of liminality?  How do we walk alongside them during the transition?  Through the threshold?  How do we sit in the “in between” and just be in the moments of not knowing and ambiguity?     {I’m blogging once a month at Practicing Families.  Please check out the rest of this post there!}

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We’re packing up this little piece of San Francisco to take with us to Oregon.

One thought on “Hope – On the Threshold . . .

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