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Day Thirty Nine - Thresholds

I have had this sense that we are on a threshold. Personally I feel it in my own life. I sense it for my marriage, my family, my church, my community, and I do have to say, in a connected sense, to the whole world around us.

Other people may call it a tipping-point.

Whatever you would like to describe this precipice, then name it.

For us personally, this time last year, we were awaiting news from immigration that guides our next steps. This is not about going anywhere, but more about how to position our family over the next few years that secures their long term future, and sets our church up for it‘s promised future also.

We are having conversations within our marriage now about decisions that no longer just impact the dreams given to Andrew and I, but we sense this legacy for our daughters. Just like the Daughters of Z.

And now we are believing for a promise of years and years to come true in these next few days that I can’t wait to share with you.

We have been in such an unknown season. Like you all. So in it, we knew to dig deep on all the NORMAL.

When things feel out of your control it is really important to do the normal, basic things well. Eat, sleep, exercise, connect, lean into your spiritual disciplines etc.

And then why don’t you name the emotions you are feeling. Name the threshold.

Yes you can name the promise, but how about the threshold.

At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it?

John O’Donohue in Bless This Space Between Us says:

A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up.

At this threshold a great complexity of emotions comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossing were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds; to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross.

To acknowledge and cross a new threshold is always a challenge. It demands courage and also a sense of trust in whatever is emerging.

This becomes essential when a threshold opens suddenly in front of you, one for which you had no preparation.

I am coaching, pastoring and loving people at the moment through a transition that they never asked for. This is illness, suffering or loss. Because we are so engaged with the world, we usually forget how fragile life can be and how vulnerable we always are. It takes only a couple of seconds for a life to change irreversibly. Suddenly you stand on completely strange ground and a new course of life has to be embraced.

They are not necessarily enamoured with hope that 2021 will be different, they know they have to journey through grief. They know 2021 may be the same old, same old.

But i am encouraging them to still anticipate the newness of the new year in a way that will see them end next year transformed.

In crisis we desperately need blessing and protection. You look back at the life you have lived up to a few hours before, and it suddenly seems so far away. Think for a moment how, across the world, someone’s life has just changed – irrevocably, permanently, and not necessarily for the better – and everything that was once so steady, so reliable, must now find a new way of unfolding.

This is a threshold thrust upon people, never invited. Was this you in 2020? Or maybe it’s someone whose hand you can take into 2021 and journey with them as they cross so that they are not alone.

John ODonohue goes on and says

“A threshold need not be a threat, but rather an invitation and a promise. Whatever comes, the great sacrament of life will remain faithful to us, blessing us always with visible signs of invisible grace”

What name are you giving this threshold? Mine is certainly FAITH.

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