Word-press just emailed me to tell me that it has been over a month since I even looked at my blog, let alone wrote anything. They are right of course, but moving house has been a real challenge, and very time consuming. I guess you could say that I am working my way through a liminal space which I entered when I made the difficult decision to leave Blackpool back in November last year, and if I am honest I have not worked my way through it yet.
Liminality refers to the state of disorientation which occurs when you have left one thing, stepping over or onto a threshold and not reached the other side yet, it is a state of change and flux which most of us go through at different times of our lives, perhaps waiting for a special event such as an engaged couple who aren’t what they were but aren’t what they will be yet, or parents waiting for the birth of a child. There are of course many other liminal spaces and events that we go through, perhaps one of the most outwardly turbulent from all sides is the late-teen, not quite adult stage where all concerned parents, friends and the young person themselves are redefining boundaries and relationships. It makes me wonder why as adults we often fail to acknowledge the effect that being in such spaces have upon us, and if in doing so we miss the gift that change brings us because we rush to make everything settled again!
For me this move has been a big one, it began with a decision which I would make again, even though it was painful to make, it required that I left unfinished business behind me with the inevitable result that I would leave others with work to do that I would have done had I chosen to stay. Letting go required me to humbly accept that I cannot do everything, nor should I do everything, it was both a challenge and a reality check all rolled into one. In the past if people spoke about ” letting go and letting God” I might roll my eyes at such a cliche, now I was being asked to live it and it was difficult for me and for those I was leaving.
Having said that please believe me when I say that I do not have a Messiah Complex, I have no desire to be God and certainly don’t see myself in the business of saving folk and making things happen with my non-existent super-natural powers. The only super-natural thing about me is Christ in me, the hope of glory! The issue was that I was heavily, maybe too heavily invested in a number of projects, and perhaps the very definite nudge of the Spirit deep within me to let go and move on saved me from myself more than I know. As Priest and author Richard Rohr says ” It is not about you!”, or to put it more correctly ” your life is not about you, you are about life!” He speaks of the need to fall upward into the hands of a loving God and that means letting go.
So I let go and my journey into liminality began, I let go of more, clearing out the loft and garage in my old manse, I then turned my attention to the bookshelves and my wardrobe and a strange collection of bits and pieces that I had moved again and again. Nothing was safe, I reduced my kitchen utensils and odd collections of plates and cutlery that had accumulated over the years ( these went to help people setting up home for the first time. Along with that went journals, some people gasped in horror, but they went anyway along with the catalogue of words that I had repeatedly beaten myself up with, perhaps in letting them go I could create space to hear God tell me that I am deeply and fully loved.
Letting go and moving on also meant making the first decision I have made just for me for over 30 years, until now I had always taken somebody else into account, now, without a married partner and with all of my children settled elsewhere, and with no parents to consider I was literally on my own before God and that was both liberating and terrifying in equal measure.Obviously I consulted friends and others such as my Spiritual Director, but the decision was mine, for me!
So now, here I am on the other side of the Pennines ( those who understand Lancashire/ Yorkshire will get that) waiting for the new beginning which is both now and not quite yet. I am not expecting the not quite yet to end on the 1st September when I officially begin working for Sheffield Methodist Circuit having been released for Blackpool, in fact I hope it doesn’t for this will be a time of building new relationships, redefining boundaries for myself. How will I work here, what have I learned from my previous appointments that will inform that? Right now I do not know, so I choose the discipline of waiting, watching and listening for the move of the Spirit, looking for the God who brings order out of chaos as he comes to me in Christ saying simply follow me.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6: 8