I spent last weekend with new friends who know, all too well, what it’s like to live in the “in-between” spaces of life.
Have you ever been there? In the “in-between?”
Most of us are frequent visitors to this place, whether we realize it or not.
The “in-between” reveals itself in different situations for each of us, but it can often be found near…
It reflects the spaces in our lives where we courageously face uncertainty while also feeling great sorrow, disappointment, or grief. It’s where the hope of recognizing any aspect of our former lives may seem distant or bleak.
The “in-between” feels a lot like being suspended in time.
Suspended: “to cause to stop temporarily; to hold in an undetermined or undecided state awaiting further information; to keep fixed or lost.”- Merriam-Webster
It may seem as though our lives have temporarily stopped…like we are stuck between reconciling the loss of what was and connecting to the hope (rather than fear) of what could or will be. It is the dreaded place of indecision and uncertainty. At times, the “in-between” feels like it might dismantle us- as if we may become undone by simply holding still and waiting.
We rarely have control over when or whether we embark on the “in-between” journeys of our lives. And, when we find ourselves there, well-intentioned voices often instruct us to seek departure or escape quickly. They lead us to believe there can be no opportunity, progress, growth, joy, hope, love, or meaning in these spaces.
My dear readers, this is the greatest lie about the “in-between.”
The “in-betweeners” (those who have gone before us in this place) have much to teach us.
Their stories reveal that the “in-between” spaces of our lives aren’t neat or tidy. They aren’t experiences that feel familiar or comfortable. They are chaotic, challenging, anxiety-provoking, and confusing. Yet, there can also be beauty and healing within their walls. The “in-betweens” often force us to dig deep, display fortitude, and lean into the uncertainty with hope and faith.
We are currently living amid a devastating pandemic, discordant election season, and acts of social and racial injustice. Many among us have also experienced significant personal losses or setbacks.
Over the past few months, I’ve frequently heard people say, “when this is over, I’ll finally_________” or “when life gets ‘back to normal,’ then I’ll ___________”
The “in-betweeners” know we can’t wait for everything to “resolve” or “get better” before we pursue continued life, healing, meaning, and love. You see, some of those living in the “in-between” have been told their time on earth is limited, so they don't have the privilege of delaying their pursuit of abundant life. My friends facing illness and death are learning to courageously pursue reconciliation now….in the messy spaces of the “in-between.”
We have much to learn from their perspective.
Reconciliation: “the process of finding a way to make two different ideas, facts, etc., exist or be true at the same time.” - Merriam-Webster
We do not have to wait until we “get through” or “get over” our present circumstances to invite hope, joy, and love into our lives. We CAN experience these simultaneously, maybe even on the same day we also feel sorrow, loneliness, fear, or guilt.
It is in the now of the “in-between” that I’ve witnessed laughter breakthrough tears and growth burst forth amid desolation. I’ve observed peace prevail where anxiety dominated, and I’ve seen light shine brightly through the darkest of circumstances.
My dear readers, whether we are currently burdened by the “in-between” of unsettling news, illness, death, pandemic, divorce, unemployment, or another devastating loss..…we don’t have to wait for our challenges to end or for everything to “work out” before inviting joy, hope, meaning, and love to enter in. Our hearts only ask us to take the next step.
Our lives are not the same after experiencing a significant loss or facing inevitably hurtful news.
We are forever changed. But, we do not have to be forever broken.
Healing is possible in the “in-between” spaces of our lives.
Reconciliation is a process that reflects our journey through this life…encompassing the highest and lowest moments. It is an example of how humans can live, love, adapt, heal, and thrive- even in “in-between” spaces of our lives.