Pausing at the Threshold

(Photo: Unsplash)

Still almost one month away, another birthday looming always invites pausing at the threshold of another year. The eagerness of younger years for quickly passing into a new year ahead, wanes as I approach the last leg of my life’s journey.

For even if the Lord blesses me with the 100 years I desire, I have but less than half a lifetime to reach it as I soon pass the sixty-four year mark.

Recently, we savored serenity in the limnal spaces of thresholds we encounter daily, weekly, or seasonally. Learning to rest in the inbetween before rushing ahead into a new beginning.

Today, I invite you to reflection; to the Joy of standing on the brink of everything as Parker Palmer so eloquently muses:

“Welcome to the brink of everything. It takes a lifetime to get here, but the stunning view of past, present, and future—and the bracing breeze in your face—make it worth the trip.”

Parker J. Palmer

Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends. Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always. We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning to “be still”, so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.

the ritual of thresholds

We entertain a fascination of sorts with thresholds, though we may not recognize it. The popularity of C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe in his Narnia series, or the train station in the Harry Potter tale, thrill us with pausing at the threshold between two worlds.

Creating rituals for the first and last days of school, retirement, change of seasons, or welcoming a new year, help us celebrate milestones reached and those yet to come.

Pausing at the threshold acknowledges the importance of transition, through simple rituals, incorporating past, present, and future in meaningful and memorable ways.

old film and photos

But the lack of ritual for the current threshold of passing into the last stage of my life’s journey, leaves me captive to strong emotions of fear, anticipation, hope, and exhilaration. Including a feeling of disconnect between the past, present, and future.

Wisdom pauses at key thresholds, resting, listening, and reflecting upon elements of faith and the becoming of sanctification weaving the past into my present identity, while whispering the promise of more yet to come.

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:19

mindful reflections

Coming across Proverbs 27:19 recently, reminded me of the importance of deep reflection before God. Fueling a ritual of review as I wait poised on my current key threshold.

Arriving as with many thresholds carrying mixed emotions. Instead of rushing through this new gateway in an effort to flee the hard emotions of regret, grief, and anger, I choose to reflect on their part in my becoming.

Just as refusing a glance in the mirror fails in altering my visage, so, too, refusing the acceptance of painful emotions cannot change the landscape of my heart.

Choosing an honest overview of my life journey thus far, as Holy Spirit leads, offers immense freedom, healing, and Hope for the future! Employing some of my favorite methods of mindful exploration over the next several months, will gently position me for the new beginning God has planned for me in the next leg of my life’s journey.

My Words and Meditations at the Threshold

Pausing with Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”, I savor my life journey so far with a concise six word statement.

sailboat on the ocean with a backdrop of the sunset

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s bravado in winning a small wager involving his ability to write a novel in six words, I composed a few statements reflecting aspects of my life from which to reflect and journal.

Though Hemingway’s winning response (“For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”) is far more poignant and vivid, my statements capture profound aspects of a life of faith.

  • The exits were entrances in disguise
  • My losses were my greatest gains
  • Forged through fire; suffering yielded resilience
  • Joy shines brightest in the darkness

Through God’s gift of words I celebrate a multi-faceted journey of growth. What six word statements might summarize your lfe’s journey?

poetry book open, cup of coffee

Threshold Reflections of Others

Uniquely, finding myself in the words of others, especially poetry, widens my perspective and gives a vent for emotion. Some of my favorites:

Can you see yourself in the words of others?

Pausing at Nature’s Threshold

Perhaps immersion in the intricate and eternal beauty of creation offers the clearest view of rest and security for the future in His hands, so elegantly expressed by Wendell Berry:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

woman i pink dress and hat sitting at the edge of a lake

Does relishing the freedom of creation bring a calm reassurance to your soul?

God’s Words at the Threshold

No more exquisite words bathe my soul in the beauty of God’s Words for my life than Psalm 139:1-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

woman sittng looking out on quiet lake

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

Does sitting with God’s words about you and your life change your perspective on the past as you pause at the threshold to the future?

pausing at the threshold

Whether at a key threshold or one of many encountered daily, weekly, or in a lifetime; pausing at the threshold offers moments of thankful review and simple rituals of acceptance.

For only on the threshold are we gifted the opportunity of understanding the past’s influence on the present, as we prepare to embrace the continued transformation of the future with gratitude.

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All content is copyrighted and the intellectual property of Donna M. Bucher, Serenity in Suffering 2020.

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