Liminal Whimsy

I wrote on the very last page of my journal today. A beautiful stained glass design adorns the outside of this journal containing record of tears and triumphs. This journal that has accompanied and chronicled a year of my life. 2023- full of ovaryactions and changes in my body and my heart. A time when my home was both a comfort and a strain. And my body was both broken and whole, healthy and in need of medical attention.

When I searched for a word to describe this sense, I kept returning to a paragraph I read three years ago:

Suffering brings us to liminal, transitional space. The French anthropologist Arnold van Gennep coined the term “liminality” to describe a stage in rights of passage, such as the transition from childhood to adulthood, when we are not one thing but we are also not the other. In liminal space we are “betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention.” … I exist in the space between the poles of my experience.

KJ Ramsey, This Too Shall Last, pg. 102

I too am liminal. I don’t fall into either category easily or fully. Here is a list of the many ways that I am betwixt and between.

Neither old nor young.

Neither fully healthy nor ill.

Not wed or alone.

Not rich or poor.

Not planned, but not directionless.

I am capable and limited.

Safe, but uncomfortable.

Energetic and fatigued.

Despairing, yet hopeful.

Not lost, not fully found.

Now and not yet.

I am liminal. I exist between extremes at a constantly fluctuating state of being. But I am also whimsical! Whimsy exists in the in betweens, when I look up from the constantly shifting boat of life and see the stars or gain a greater perspective or reason for the experience. Whimsy can be squished into even the smallest and most unlikely of spaces. I’ve experienced whimsy in hospital rooms and surgical suites. In HOA meetings and budget spreadsheets. I want to find more of these in 2024. I want to create more of these spaces in 2024! I am betwixt – and in these small and often uncomfortable spaces, I seek to find and be and display the whimsy. I will find small joys situated between larger barriers or difficulties. I will find laughter in the loss of control. I will be playful and joyful and whimsical no matter what life throws at me. I will find levity in the weighty. The sunbeam in the dark. This in no way means I will ignore the struggle or darkness or heaviness of situations, but it does mean that I will look for the spaces between the challenges, sometimes no longer than a breath, and fill them with defiant joy.

For we live in the liminal space between two scenes on an eternal scale. We live in what theologians call the now and the not yet, when Christ has come once, but will come again. The salvific story has been written with a sure ending, but we haven’t experienced the ending yet. I am spiritually liminal: saved, but not fully sanctified. Now and not yet, or as I prefer to say, “The now and the more to come!”

It is in the space between, the white space, the pause, the extra moment, the beat of rest, where we experience the unseen, that we can train for Heaven where Sabbath rest and joy and laughter and wholeness reign.

I am liminal – but will not always be.

I am whimsical and may this quality remain! 🙂

New year… same me! Just a me who is more intentional about finding the spaces of joy in between and filling them with whimsy whenever possible.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; … 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4:8-9 and 16-18.

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