Sometimes I wish I could. Choose a side, I mean. It would be so much simpler.
But the in between place is where I end up most of the time, spiritually, socially, politically. It seems it's just my truth, or my way of finding truth. Things are always more gray than black and white.
A couple of years ago, a young woman said to me, "Nothing discourages you," which I received as a serious assessment. I don't even know that I responded to her, but it cut to the core. In a good way.
Through her comment, I was forced to ask myself #1 is it true, and #2 if it isn't true, what does discourage me?
#1. It isn't true.
#2. What discourages me is when people don't get along. When they can't seem to consider that there is another, legitimate point of view, and that there is somehow room for all of us. That is what discourages me.
Living through these politically challenging times, some of my "conservative" friends consider me to be "liberal" while some of my "liberal" friends consider me to be "conservative." I know it happens to you, too. Liberal and Conservative are only labels, after all. And, by the way, do I really have to have an opinion about absolutely everything?
What it comes down to for each of us is how we embrace and hold dialogue with the person in front of us. How do we connect to them? (Some of the most conservative, "anti-stuff" folks I know are surprisingly compassionate when it comes down to caring for the individual. ) Are we willing to be vulnerable, to provide a welcoming presence, at least a small percentage of the time? It can change everything. In fact, it's the only thing that can change everything. Sometimes, we're only one conversation away from changing our minds about something. (If you're following, you may want to refer to my previous post where I talk about failing miserably at this--Love at the Walgreens Photo Counter, February 5th, 2013.)
At this most sacred Holy Season of the year, I'm reminded of the women in scripture who also were liminal women--those holy "myrrh bearing" women who held on, and showed up at that in-between time, neither dark nor light, with a mountain of spices for preparing the body of Jesus. These "myrrh bearing" women--those I like to call Holy Saturday Women, fulfill an essential role in the Resurrection Story. They are the ones holding the in between space, bridging the time in the narrative between Death and Resurrection, across Saturday's chasm of darkness and silence. Their together waiting forms the threshold for Jesus's Resurrection Appearance.
And there were others: Elizabeth, an Old Testament figure living on the threshold of the New Testament, awaiting Messiah, and carrying Messiah's forerunner. Talk about changing times! And the Samaritan woman, placed between religions and between cultures, moving from emptiness to fullness, crossing religious and cultural gaps and becoming an evangelist. And Mary Magdalene, moving from confusion to clarity, crossing the gender gap to new definitions of relationship and leadership. And Mary, the mother of our Lord, another liminal presence between the old and the new.
It appears I'm in good company.
And, like the Holy Saturday Women, I know that I am called to a life of faith in the midst of complex times. I was not born sooner, nor was I born later. I was born now. Like you. In the in between place.