Are you currently in a holding pattern, a waiting period in your life? Maybe you're waiting for something but you don't know when it's coming or perhaps you're hoping for something but you wonder if it will come to fruition, let alone the when. Either way, waiting is hard. It goes against every attempt and desire we have to control our environment. It forces a crack in the illusion of control, and much of it is an illusion. So often we live with an if/then mentality - if I just do X then Y will happen. Finding ourselves in a period of waiting can throw a wrench smack dab in the middle of all of those if/thens.
As difficult as it is to be caught in the waiting game, it can also be good for us. Waiting presents us with a choice. We can choose to look out the window of our lives, wishing we were somewhere else, occupying space in someone else’s life or we can choose to be present in our own life, just as it is, in the waiting. And there’s a fine line between living vicariously through someone else and using their life as a numbing distraction from our own.
I currently find myself in the middle of a waiting game as I am 40 weeks pregnant today with my third child. That’s right, it’s my due date. And I am so very ready for baby girl to come. Perhaps more aptly stated, I am so very ready to NOT be pregnant anymore. But I have no idea when she’s coming. Which day this week or next week will our world be turned upside down?
I feel caught in what I can only describe as an in between place. There’s a word for this phenomenon, it’s called a liminal space. It’s a space where you find yourself in between, where one thing or season has ended but the other one has not yet begun. Due to my exhaustion, nausea, and contracting belly, my life with my boys as I knew it has ended. For weeks now, I haven’t been able to exercise nor have I wanted to be outside due to the heat. I don’t have the energy to engage with my boys in our usual active activities. I started my maternity leave over a week ago and my dear husband has taken over most of the housework. Yet, the next stage, that of life with a newborn has not yet arrived. You’d think I’d be grateful, with all of this “time” on my hands but I don’t feel like myself and I don’t quite know what to do with myself either.
So here I am in the midst of a liminal space and it’s not the first time I’ve been in this kind of holding pattern in my life. There’s an opportunity for growth here, an opportunity to practice being present in the hard space of waiting. As I want to look forward, to wish away this time of waiting, I am challenged to stay right where I am and to ask, how can I lean into this space well? How can I look straight into my life, see and love the people around me, and inhabit my own life in this very moment, as weary and wanting as I may be?
The next season always comes. Whether it’s when we want it to or the way we want it to look, well, that’s another matter. But it always comes. The question is, how will we live in the space that fills the in between?