By Rev. Carol Bodeau
"In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.”
― William Blake
It is, to say the least, an incredible time. And it a time whose ending is yet unknown, both in the sense that we don’t know exactly when it will end, and also that we don’t know how it will end. In fact, there’s a good chance that this shifting reality will never truly ‘end’—things won’t ever go back to the old, ‘normal’ way of doing things. We are all being changed by the experience of a global pandemic.
How in the world are we supposed to handle such an experience? Something most of us could never have predicted—in January, very few of us could have said, ‘in a few weeks, our global economies, our social networks, our daily lives, will all be utterly disrupted and shut down—across the entire planet.’ That would have been just unthinkable. And the same is true of what will happen next: we just can’t really know what things will look like.
Of course, we all have predictions. We may say that things will go back to ‘pretty normal’ or we may say things will be ‘utterly changed.’ Or we may land somewhere in the middle, between those two extremes. But the truth is we are currently inhabiting “liminal space.” We are between the old ‘known’ that is in the past, and a future that is unknown.
Poet William Blake describes liminal space as a place of opportunity: between the known and the unknown, there exist doors of choice, of possibility, and of opportunity. These ‘doors’ will be different for each of us. For one person, there might be a door to deeper reflection during quiet time. For another, the door might be to greater commitment to social justice, as we watch imbalances in how the pandemic is handled in different communities. For yet another, the door might be one into grief, loss, and learning to be present with the pain that is such a central part of this experience. Not all the doors will open onto pleasant or ‘fun’ experiences. And yet, we do have the ability to see all of these experiences as openings.
So, I invite you to ask yourself today, “What is opening up?” As things are ‘shut down,’ as I am limited and restricted, what other areas are becoming more expanded, more open? Perhaps this is simply making lemonade out of lemons but, for me, it helps to look for the possibility in the challenge; to find the gift in the difficulty; and to seek new possibilities where old ones are blocked.
I hope that you are safe. I hope that you are well and held in the comfort of close friends and family. I wish for all a sense of peace and calm, no matter what is happening around us. And I look forward to being with you in person again soon. When that happens, I look forward to hearing about the openings that appeared for you during this time.
Wishing you peace and love,