The Space Between Ending and Beginning

“Now what?” I whispered with my eyes searching desperately across the teal colored room that bared no floor in sight. My office had become a war zone of sorts, with bunkers made of books and plans of attack scribbled illegibly on brightly colored Post-Its. This is apparently what the in-between stage of my life had become, crumpled pieces of notebook paper and empty chocolate wrappers. Instead of basking in the after-glow of a successful event, I was searching frantically for the next project. There’s something about me that feels purposeless without an immediate goal in front of me.

You think I would’ve had this middle space thing down considering that’s sort of what life is, a series of endings and beginnings. Between the end of something and a new start, it feels like walking across a balance beam that looks as though its never going to end. Although it might be just me who is deathly afraid of heights, feeling impending doom coursing through my body while walking across the balance beam, heart lodged in my throat praying that each step is nearer to it being over. We can hype ourselves up with all sorts of dramatic scenarios, shocking our bodies into defense mode before anything even happens. 

I’ve noticed that change and loss do this, leave us dangling in the air like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Some of you might immediately connect loss to death and heartbreak, which are the obvious ones. Although we tend to by pass the fact that even good changes, like leaving a job you hate, come with loss. No matter the type of loss I have yet to formally shake hands with one that offered a breezy, smooth transition. Often we are forced to hang out in what Rev. Ellen Debenport describes as the hallway. The space between where one door or chapter of our life, closes and we wait for the next one to open. At times, we will be able to see the light streaming in from the other doorway producing hope and excitement. In other times, we won't. Both doors will be closed and we will just have to sit there and wait. It can be painful and lonely in that darkness, we might choose to camp out, rolling out a flannel sleeping bag and building a fire out of sticks like a damn boy scout. We might just stand there frantically knocking on the closed one until our fingers start bleeding, hoping that perhaps desperation could crack open a door that’s sealed shut. We could try to force a door to open, seeking out pleasure wherever we can find it or half-assed attempt at replacement. We also might choose to live in the hallway so long that we actually might become the hallway. That pain and darkness of the in between can become our identity. It can become all we know.

As for me, I've always been a little scared of the hallway. Traditionally, the hallway has hosted some of the scariest moments of my life. I even occasionally find myself clinging to things that no longer serve me just to avoid the hallway.  We have two choices in the in-between, Fear or Bravery. Fear requires us to predict that what is to come will be worse than what we left behind. Fear requires us to not trust the divine order of things. Fear requires that we lose sleep in attempt to control the outcome of our new ventures. Fear requires us to stand still or resist action. Bravery, on the other hand, requires us to dream up a best case scenario. It requires us to trust that there is a plan in play. It requires us to surrender and inch toward the new door until that door is ready to open. Surrendering is less of a one-time job and more of a constant self-talk of “hey, this is going to be ok”.

In the meantime, utilize the in between. Make it your bitch. Any pain you’ve acquired, love on it. Appreciate it. Hug it. And tuck it in your pocket like a purple heart medal for your life. Growth comes in the in between. Our best lessons are always learned here.