liminal places

My friend Pam shared a book of essays with me organized around the theme of liminality. Liminal places are those places and seasons that hinge from one thing to another. Moments that are not this or that. Experiences that, as the title of Pam’s book points out, are “Neither Here nor There”.

Last night fog hung thick in the air as I walked from the office to my car after a meeting. The fog gathered aromas from the nearby ocean and parceled them into breath-sized drafts. The air smelled of salt and seaweed.

Liminal places, times of turning and transition, threshold experiences, can be like that: Heavy with the scent and mystique of what is close but not current, what is possible but not yet realized.

Many of us, I think, live in fear of the fog. We avoid or deny moments of life that don’t promise immediate comfort and assurance. It can be easier to embrace a false absolute than to navigate an honest uncertainty. Many of us would do well to muster the courage to set out into the fog.

But thresholds are not meant to be prisons, they’re meant to be passed through. And this morning, I’m thinking of those among us who live in perpetual liminality not by choice. 

There are those among us who do not require more courage, but comfort. There are those who come to our shores and make their way to our borders seeking the simple securities of mundane life. Wherever we are on our journey today, may we examine our own fears and commit ourselves to collaborating as generous architects of home for the sake of those without.