Now we see in a mirror dimly,
then we will see face to face.
Now we understand in part,
then we will understand more fully
just as we are fully understood.
1 Corinthians 13:12
All through this month we will be crossing thresholds. Going from one space into another. Going from one room into another, from kitchen to dining room, from outside to inside. Moving from freezing cold to the warmth of a crackling fire. From now into not yet. Sometimes these steps can feel more intentional and significant, sometimes mindless, as if we are lost. We cross them all day, every day.
There are moments in our lives when every cell in our body senses that this coming passage from one space into another might be significant, even life-changing. There are moments when we know that once we cross-over, things will change and may never, ever be the same. In the crossings, we have no way of really knowing whether the changes will be for the better or for the worse, sometimes all we know is that change is coming.
So many of us have lived through some kind of crossing this past year or in recent years. One foot stepping from “here” to “there” and the deeply sensing that what we knew to be true was no longer. Going into a doctor’s office for an appointment, going into work for a meeting, going into a room for a phone when it is ringing. Thresholds. Doorways. Pathways from one moment to the next, one space to another.
Advent comes in December’s growing darker days. This time of waiting calls to our hearts to be more watchful. These growing colder days invite us into hibernation like a big, old brown bear.
It would be easy to convince ourselves that we should not take that next step. Instead we should stop. Mid-step. Stop. That we should just stay put. We could convince ourselves if we stay right in this place, then nothing else bad will happen. It’s a tangible, definitive way of protecting ourselves, longing for a guarantee that if we could somehow curl into a ball, we could protect our hearts from ever breaking again. And even…. and even as we…and even as we consider this we know that that is not how our lives are meant to be lived. Deep down inside most days it is not how we want to be in the world.
Is there a way in this season of waiting to spend time acknowledging the significance of life’s thresholds? Is there a way for us to better recognize the value of our life’s passages? We do it every day, all day long. Is there a way for us to find strength and comfort in knowing that sometimes it is this very act of passing from one space to another that can bring hope, relief, healing? And perhaps there are times when it can be helpful to be more intentional, more mindful of each small, intentional step and all that it might mean for us.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly…”
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.