In Celtic spirituality, there is a idea known as thin places. These places are believed to be liminal spaces, or thresholds, between the spiritual and material worlds. When you enter into them, you recognize being further from everyday life, but not to the point of crossing into a new plane of being. Supposedly the Garden of Gethsemane is one of these places where the presence of God can be more easily felt. Still, these spaces are precarious. The moment you set name to them as liminal, their allure and power seem to disappear. Yet, this is the space I find myself and my students currently in. We are on the threshold.
The semester ends on Monday and students will be starting finals, graduating, moving home, and beginning internships, jobs, and summer studies. Their anxiousness seems to be filling the air. They are ready to be on to the next thing, yet utterly stuck in the between. They are waiting to enter that new space of freedom and opportunity and experiences that come through summer, but they recognize that they are not quite there.
The same seems to be true of me. I am anxious to wrap up this first year at Wesley. I am ready to neatly tie up all of the loose-ends of the semester and move on to the next challenges and experiences of summer in campus ministry. Still, I am not quite there. I am trying simultaneously to look forward and plan what lies ahead and look back to reflect on the beauty of what has happened here in the last nine months. I am trying to figure out possible next steps for the ministry, while relishing the precious moments with students. It’s a thin space. More accurately, it may be a thin time. A brief glimpse to what lies ahead and moment of pause for what has passed.
All I know is that if liminal spaces are places where we can feel the divine more presently among us, then liminal time must be moments when we can feel closer to God. These endings and beginnings challenge me to pay attention. God is in the in-between. Filling the spaces and times where we wait at the threshold.