THIS IS HOLY GROUND
Something I noticed recently is how we often don't pay all that much attention to the progression of the calendar year, because for the most part, it's become mostly irrelevant. We say that the first of January signals the beginning of a new year, but because of how central the school year is to so many of our lives, whether we're students, or parents of students, etc., the beginning of the calendar year usually feels a little more like the middle of the year, with Christmas break and all.
Likewise, summer often tends to feel like the end of the year, with the end of summer relaying that the school year is about to start again. That's generally when I feel like the majority of us tend to feel like we're approaching a new year, as the fall rolls around.
Despite our general indifference/ignorance towards what actually constitutes the beginning or end of a given season, I've found myself acutely aware of just how many months have gone by over the course of 2018, and maybe that's why this current summer, the summer of 2018, feels peculiarly sacred.
In many ways, 2018 has been one of my hardest and longest-feeling years yet. Maybe it's because every month is another month without that boy. Maybe it's the continual reminder that I have to let that go. Maybe it was that brutal first year of grad school, and especially brutal spring semester. Maybe it's just all the change that has already taken place, and all the change that's sure to take place over the next few months. Regardless, 2018 has been horrible and wonderful, and at the same time, it very much feels like an in between space between what was and what's to come. And something about that betwixt and betweenness feels sacred and holy, like I'm in this limbo of reality, waiting for something new to be born. I can't put it into succinct words, but I've caught myself on multiple occasions just murmuring to myself that this summer feels sacred. I don't even know exactly what it means, but I can feel it in my soul.
SOMETHING ABOUT THAT BETWIXT AND BETWEENNESS FEELS SACRED AND HOLY
There's this incessant tension in living in a space where you're neither here nor there, knowing that you've already walked out of one the most difficult seasons of life but, at the same time, aren't quite to that next one yet. It's this internal feeling of perpetually being in a train station or airport, this stressful, wound-up sensation of still being in transit. You're no longer where you were, but you're also not yet where you're going to be. And you almost feel as though you're wandering, emotionally and otherwise.
Some days this summer, I feel as though everything is right in the world. I'm content and grateful for where I am. And some days this summer, I feel as though I would give anything for this current season to be over and done with, far away in the past where I don't have to think about it again.
But perhaps more often that either of those two polar opposites, I feel as though life is good, but it's not great. Life is not the best, but it's not terrible. It's that both-and tension that exists when you occupy the odd in between spaces that everyone else seems to have moved on from.
You've graduated from undergrad, and you're in grad school, but that second graduation is still quite a far ways off.
You've landed that job that's about as much of a dream as you can expect to get right now, but it's not the place you ultimately hope to land.
You're single and mostly content with that, having learned to love yourself, but that's also not where you want to stay forever.
It's this tension of the in between. And though it feels difficult and unbearable and painful, it also feels growing and healing and necessary. And perhaps that's what ordinary sacredness looks like, living in those in between places where you must learn to live with the contradictory and paradoxical, because that's more representative of life than almost anything else, where disappointment and pain intermingle with hope and healing.
IT'S THIS INTERNAL FEELING OF BEING IN PERPETUAL TRANSIT. YOU'RE NO LONGER WHERE YOU WERE, BUT YOU'RE ALSO YET TO WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO BE
All the poetic waxing aside, I still really don't know where I'm going to end up in the next few months. Life is sort of set, sort of has a structure, but I know that most of the time that doesn't really mean anything, perhaps especially for me. If you know me at all, you know that life tends to somehow be able to create these massive tornadoes that also happen to fit well within the confines of whatever structure is currently occupying my life, so I'm not even going to try to guess what the second half of 2018 is going to bring.
I know where I've been. I know where I want to be. And at the same time, I have absolutely no idea where I'm actually going to end up. And I think that's the hardest part.
I've never been the kind of person who handles uncertainty well, and perhaps that's why these in between times are so difficult for me, because I can always look back and see all the things I've grown out of, all the things that I've progressed beyond, but there's no way for me to see through the fog of everything that lies ahead to know what's going to come next. And when it all comes down to it, the only I can do is take a deep breath and accept that I will need to take everything as it comes, because that's just how life works. And believe me when I say I don't like that.
But I suppose for now, the mantra is onward, onward, hopefulness, skepticism, angst, and all.
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