Life has many endings and beginnings. As I wrap up being what I once was and begin what I am doing now (associate pastor at CTK), I’m reminded of the truth that change and transition--- even radical transition--- is normal. We’re surrounded by examples of radical transitions in Scripture, teenagers, nature’s seasons, and even the world of aviation physics. I love to fly airplanes. And while airplanes are made for flying, an airplane is also designed to master transition between the ground and the air. That transition takes skill, patience, and a touch of grace. In landing, there’s a very distinct window of time and space when the plane is flying but moving toward landing. It’s a vulnerable window about 7-11 seconds long. In those final seconds, the plane is a few feet above the ground, slowing to an almost stall. Flight controls are sluggish due to slow airspeed, and all 1700 lbs of you is ‘hovering’ above the runway in a sort of nose-up, flared state. At this point, you don’t attempt to manipulate the landing or force anything. To do so would only invite havoc. During this duration there’s not a whole lot you can do... except WAIT and hold course.
Waiting is good in any major transition. Airspeed bleeds off, the plane lowers to just 8” off the runway, and finally, you feel that first tread of rubber touch pavement, creating friction, resulting in less airspeed, resulting in more descent, resulting in more ground roll and less lift. It’s a very cool transition to experience. You actually feel it more than you can actually do it.
Life transitions are similar. In living for Christ and His Kingdom, the ancients call transitions between the old and new “Liminal Space.” It’s that space between the past and the future; the then and the now. Rohr writes: “Liminal Space is that place that is difficult to define because it’s neither ‘this’ or ‘that’.” In my journal I wrote: “Liminal space is that place where, when you look back, the cold winter fog that you just went through offers little hope that it could possibly be better or true to go back---and consequently, convinces you to take another step forward toward an uncertain destination.” I wrote that late last year without a single clue I’d be here at CTK by February. It was worth the wait.
Are you in transition? Are you in Liminal Space? Is it uncomfortable... yep. Is it neither here nor there... yep. Are you anxious to finally land... yep. Has it been longer than you anticipated... yep. Is the destination you currently see still ambiguous... yep.
Can you go back? Nope.
OK then, hold course, keep your seatbelt fastened, be patient, and do not fear. The sounds of “landing” are imminent, which will in good time usher in an arrival to a whole new place. Then, welcome that new destination.