It’s not yet dawn when I stand at our living room window, mug of soy milky frothy coffee in hand, and look to the east. The sky above the distant mountains is pink and, with subtle brilliance, growing ever more mesmerizing.
I know, having watched countless sunrises, that the brilliance will reach a peak, then fade, and a whisper of something quiet will precede the rising of the sun—the main event, the thing we wait for.
But this morning I think about the liminal time between the pre-dawn glorious eastern sky and the moment the first red sun rays kiss the world. The pause. Surely there is something to glean from that slice of time.
Sometimes I focus too much on things that are loud and in my face. It seems unavoidable. Coincidentally, I have just woken from a dream in which I was assaulted by noise and activity, in which I tried unsuccessfully to escape, until I woke, shaken, the residual of that familiar sense of assault clinging and unwanted.
Now I stand at the window appreciating the beauty of pre-dawn but also anticipating the peace of the gift of liminal. I’m convinced wisdom lives there. It’s a place I feel a call to linger. Without the cacophony of before and the urgency of after, the liminal offers space in which to ponder. To ask questions and, rather than tossing them up and hoping magic will happen and they’ll return to me with answers, sit with them. To step back and gain perspective. To listen. To change course.
I take another sip of coffee and let my eyes linger a moment longer on the increasingly brilliant sky. I listen to the wind. Then I turn, and return to the space I’ve set apart in my home in which I prepare for the day by reading, writing, praying, and pondering.
It doesn’t always look the same, but it is a necessary precursor to getting on with the business of living another day. The sun will rise and activity will resume, seasons will change, hardship will fall, and joy will return whether I embrace the liminal or not. But I will see it all through a different lens having lingered, and I will influence the course of my path—and that of those whose life I touch—through utilizing the wisdom I glean there.
I could live without spending time in the liminal. But I wouldn’t want to.