In anthropology, liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete.”
Wikipedia, I couldn’t have put it better myself. For months now, the sense of an ending has been sitting over my head. The feeling of a yawning gap opening up ahead as the time draws near to move on.
To take the leap from being a curate to incumbency.
I should be used to liminal space by now. The discernment process and ordination training itself is a whole series of liminal experiences, but it never gets anymore comfortable.
It has felt at times, like drawing ever closer to the edge of a cliff and knowing that jumping off is not optional but mandatory. Scary and exciting. (but mostly scary)
BBC1’s wonderful current series Life Story opened with unforgettable scenes of the Barnacle geese’s start in life. At the tender age of two days old they must forsake the nest in which they hatched and hurtle over a 400ft cliff. Believe it or not, it is the parents method of maximising their chances of survival to adulthood. I watched with my heart in my mouth, and the scene has stayed with me, striking a deep chord.
See for yourselves.
It may not have been a mere two days, but it feels like no time at all since I moved here and took up my curacy. I have loved the experience, demanding, exhausting and full on as it has been. In the deep end from the start, it has been a privilege to share the highs and lows of so many lives. Enmeshing myself into four churches that form our Benefice, and learning to live out incarnational ministry in a rural, village context. I have put my heart and soul into this place and it will be a wrench to leave. I have had plenty ‘moving on’ experience, from places and churches, but it doesn’t make the transition any easier.
I have adapted to country living like a duck to water and the blessings of being surrounded by beautiful countryside have far outweighed the inconveniences. Watching the seasons change and living with the rhythms of nature have become an integral part of my spiritual life, constantly feeding me and lifting my heart. Having dogs means I am outdoors in all weathers, at least twice a day, and their requirements have afforded me regular pauses/reflection time in otherwise non stop schedule. (see my twitter feed for regular photographic journaling)
This week along with other final year curates, I spent a day with the Bishop, looking at the pressing question of What Next? It all became very real, as we explored the process and strategies for interviews and applications. It was like standing on the edge and looking down. Quite a few bumps along the way, and hopefully a welcome party at the other end. Simultaneously trying to continue to focus on the job I have, whilst think, pray and imagine myself into another. And potentially to have to do the latter several at a time. An emotionally demanding journey.
God called me to follow him into the vocation of ordained ministry and although I fought him tooth and nail at the outset, (see Where is your home? / Becoming who you are / Called to fish, shaped to serve / Called by name for more on that story) it is a calling I have now fully embraced. I have no idea at this point what His plans are for me for the next few years (who does?) but as I stand here teetering on the edge, about to jump I know that ‘He who calls is faithful’. It is into His hands that I jump, and I can’t think of better ones to trust.