Richard Rohr writes that liminal space is “a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.”
I learned about liminal space last year at about this time, and for the first time I had words to describe what I was experiencing. Over the past five years nearly everything that I have defined myself by has been stripped away – even my hopes for what the future would be. My old “comfort zone” had become so unfamiliar it’s hard to believe that I’d ever been comfortable there. But, there was no new normal. I was in limbo, stuck. I became smaller and smaller, losing the core of who I was, until my friends became concerned. One of them finally articulated what she was seeing. “You’re muted,” she said. “You don’t laugh anymore.” That conversation was a turning point.
Slowly, I learned to live with ambiguity. I learned to trust and wait. And I started to grow – in ways I’d never expected. I learned to advocate for myself. I learned to set boundaries and stick to them. I grew braver. I started to laugh again. And Friday, I packed up my car and I started driving west.
I believe that I am finally through this season of liminal space. I barely recognize the person I was before…and I’m thankful for that.