Transitions create a liminal time, a time on the threshold between old and new, between past and future, a sacred time, perhaps a dangerous time. Yesterday, I turned in my keys to the congregation where I had ministered for 13 years. My retirement is official. But who am I now?
It is not that I didn’t have any ideas about what I might like to be doing after I finished that work. I imagine I will still be on A Spiritual Journey into Earth Community, what this blog is all about. But what I notice, and have been noticing the last few weeks, is a sense of floating or flying, a sense of directionless. I haven’t been able to put it into words. But artist Cathryn Falwell captured it in this beautiful banner she created for me as a retirement gift. (Thank you Cathryn!) The red cardinal is flying over the terrain of earth, hills, trees, clouds, water. The landing is not yet in sight.
It is not a fearful time, nor sad really, though I have moments of sadness about letting go. It is not really excited or joyful either. I am not doing a happy dance. It is “in between” everything. I remember that I wanted to have a sense of spaciousness, an empty space before I filled it with new things. So perhaps it is a spacious time, though it doesn’t quite feel spacious yet.
I realized a few days ago that summer in Maine always carries a sense of urgency. There is such a short growing season, and the garden clamors for attention. We have reached the solar festival of Lammas, the early harvest celebration. The garden is full of harvestables–huge kale plants, and basil; the oregano and thyme herb clusters have expanded and gone to flower to the delight of all bees; volunteer blackberries are starting to ripen in the back of the yard and down the street at a vacant lot. We are also overgrown with crabgrass and could never finish all the weeding that one might do. Plus there are always practical things to attend to–meals, dishes, bills, household maintenance. Not to mention that the beach also calls us to swimming during these hot sunny days that end so quickly.
So what is spaciousness? How do I float along in this empty and full terrain? Perhaps I just float along. Perhaps I just float along, until the next sacred thing emerges.