Do you feel a bit uneasy? It’s because you’re in transition. You’ve left one home and
are on your way to another. You’re in between. In so very many ways, you are in between.
In between the student you were and the student you’ll be, the person you were and the
one you’re becoming. You’re in between beliefs, in between friends, in between authorities.
You’re in between the comfort you had and the comfort you’ll find.
You’re in what some have called, “liminal space.” It comes from the Latin word for
“threshold.” You’ve left one space but haven’t quite yet entered another, which is always an
odd place to be. In this space, you don’t know where things are just yet… or exactly how
things work. We are typically off balance, standing in these threshold places and most
often uncomfortable. So, our response is to rush… either to rush backwards or forwards…
just so that we can feel comfortable and balanced and in control again.
Like God’s people in the desert (see Exodus in your Scriptures class) the temptations for you in these days will be to return to what was or to rush ahead to some new “Promised Land.” Be careful… either option can short circuit what needs to happen in this liminal space where you must learn to trust, to risk, to be open, and to live apart from all that was familiar. The gifts of security behind you or promises before you will likely entice you from the good and sacred thing happening in the present, uncomfortable though it is.
There is a great gift in this time of disorientation, so just be there… take note of the
butterflies in your stomach… the awkwardness in conversations… the clumsiness in class…
the threatened feeling you have when you hear an opinion completely different from your
own… the homesickness.
You’re in between, remember. You’ve set out on a journey… but not alone.
By: Burt Burleson, University Chaplain