Endings are the first, not the last, act of the play.
Transitions, pg. 132
A week ago, I walked and was handled my diploma symbolizing the end of my time in graduate school. I immediately drove off and took a ferry to the Golf Islands of Canada to camp, spend time with my friends, read books I wanted to read, and begin this arduous and hopeful process of moving from graduate student to working professional. For the past few months I have felt stuck in a hold position, just waiting to be unleashed onto the world. I am officially in transition. In the midst of change, I know I can thrive as I’ve been there and have learned from that place, death gives possibility to new life. But there were 3 days where Jesus’ waited from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, there is the liminal space between.
Living liminal isn’t my favorite, but at the same time it is. This liminal space is where I have found new life awaiting me, and I make sure my copy of Transitions: Make Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges (that my seminary, Seattle University, required its students to read) is close by. I originally read that book when my life was up in the air and was having difficulty seeing the new life beyond. Needless to say, I take that book to heart whenever I start back down liminal lane… and here I am.
…new growth cannot take root on ground still covered with the old habits, attitudes, and outlooks because endings are the clearing process.
Transitions, pg. 108
Through my seemingly endless pursuit of discovering my faith, seeking authenticity, and being able to name my ministry during seminary so much gardening was done: to change my habits, redefine attitudes and outlooks, to see hope and possibility, and to fully accept myself. My Master of Divinity did a lot of clearing, which feels like the understatement of the year. It was the good work, where the joy outweighed the mourning, tears, suffering, and pain during the recovery of my sense of self.
I found new life in seminary, but it’s over and I am back in what Bridges’ names the neutral zone (liminal space). He suggests that during this time one should:
Accept your need for this time in the neutral zone.
Find a regular time and place to be alone.
Begin a blog of neutral zone experiences.
Take this pause in the action of your life to write an autobiography.
Take this opportunity to discover what you really want.
Think of what would be unlived in your life if it ended today.
Take a few days to go on your own version of a passage journey.
The perfectionist in me is saying (and trying to give high-fives), “Dang, Irene, you are getting it done”, but that’s not the purpose of living liminal. It’s the slow and steady pace, it’s the savoring and it’s the learning. So here I am again, living liminal and finding how my degree and sense of ministry in the world align with a career.
Take things step by step and resist the siren song that sings about some other route where everything goes smoothly and events are always exciting and meaningful.
Transitions, pg. 171
I am in the in-between. It’s terrifying, exhilarating, and most of all, I want my new beginning, but here I wait… blogging, pausing, contemplating between job applications. Fully aware that it’s not going to be smooth, exciting, and always meaningful, but I have lived liminal before.
My pursuit of my faith, continue journey of authenticity, and application of how my vocation intersects in this world is not over, it’s just begun. I do not know where I am heading off to, but I know that at the end, life will fall into place and at the end will be my beginning.