The In-Between

My heart has been walking through a transition space for an amount of time that is starting to feel like aimless wandering – trying to navigate what life looks like in time between “what was” and “not yet.” It is full of momentum & stillness, certainty & uncertainty, fulfillment but also emptiness. Perhaps we live our entire lives learning to live in a sweet spot between the tension of two extremes.

Carrying Lou though her grief has been undoubtedly the most important focus of my life for the last year. For the people we care most deeply about, their happiness is our happiness – and their pain is our pain. I think that is the way that unconditional love was designed to be. Because togetherness is our greatest gift.

There’s a lot of things I still don’t have figured out in terms of loving people well. But what I am confident that the power of showing up, and more importantly staying –  may be our greatest act of love. In walking with Lou through this storm, it became evident to me that there is a high-risk-high-reward tradeoff for sacrifice. Sacrificing time for other relationships and commitments and things I used to find a lot of comfort and identity in.

Helping someone else fight a battle like this is exhausting and challenging but it is worth all the costs I have counted.

Now that we’re back in SLO, change has come with the seasons that have passed and I am learning to change with them. Lou is better. And while there are still very low lows and questions that will probably never be fully answered about the hardest parts of life, my heart is more hopeful that grief is something we work through. That it’s a wound that will always surface itself as a scar, but maybe it can become a part of our story rather than who we are. A thing that makes us broken but also beautiful – and a warrior and a difference-maker. Both of us – in her healing and my mending – have discovered what makes a good listener, what the most important parts of life really are, and how to find the courage to move forward in uncertainity.

I would describe our seasons studying abroad as the fall. The autumn, like the one we see and feel, allowed old things to pass away beautifully. The fall allowed some of the heaviest pains to be lightened and for God to display the beauty in what we learned in change vibrantly and boldly, but then use the wind to sweep away things we couldn’t carry any longer. And with the withering away of the old, he gave us the space on our branches for new beauty to grow. A promise for rebirth – a promise to trade beauty for ashes.

And what my hope is is that what’s coming is spring. A chance to bloom with grace and take all the learning I’ve found in the last year and find roots in it deep enough to bear the wind of what lies ahead. I’m walking in the hope that God will turn the wilderness into a garden for a heart that held on through doubt and confusion and anger.

But for right now, the space between a season of shedding old weight and growing new beauty, Fall and Spring, is literally, and metaphorically, winter. The space between the passing away of what was and the blooming of what will be. To be completely honest, It’s been quite a challenge I did not expect and unsurprising hit from reality that while my world had to stop turning to carry Lou’s, others had to keep moving. Being back in a place I’ve loved to call home for 3 years and in a sense having to recreate myself and reconnect with people I love and the community I adore takes time and requires a patience I did not anticipate needing.

This week I’m praying to invite God into this space that I don’t quite know how to define. To be aware of God’s presence in the wilderness and cling to it. And in the wandering, trust that I am always exactly where I am intended to be. I am learning everyday to let the space between where I am & where I want to be inspire and not intimidate me.

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