Depending on how old you are and how many “seasons” of life you’ve experienced you will respond uniquely to this topic:
When something is over but hasn’t ended.
Here are some examples that might not come initially to mind:
1. It’s your senior year. It’s sooo over. But nope. Hasn’t ended. It’s only October.
2. You’re sick. Puking. Bowing to the great porcelain god. You think, “Thank You, Lord… that’s over.” But 5 minutes later you’ve been proved wrong. It hasn’t ended. You’re just right side up now using the PG as intended. But nothing has ended.
3. You’re at a funeral. The worst happens. You’re friend begins to laugh out of deep intense sorrow. That kind of laugh that is super inappropriate but nothing can stop it. After a moment of shock, you begin to laugh. People begin to stare. You all finally get a hold of yourselves as you all, as a group, begin to cry again. It’s over. Until the next wave of snorting begins in 10 seconds. Nope. It ain’t ended yet.
Those are the momentary “overs-but-not-endeds”. But what I’m really talking about here are the seasons of life that hit us, sometimes when we expect them, but most of the time when we do not. You’ve heard the verse:
“To everything there is a season and a time for a purpose under heaven. “ Ecclesiastes 3:1
No doubt you know the song by The Byrds:
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
I love this verse and I love that song. So peaceful and pleasant, right?
But in actuality these “turning” moments are rarely pleasant and, in reality, feel like limbo.
Walking in a dense uncertain fog.
Powerless to force the hand of God or the movement of your choice.
Suspension. If you are a Harry Potter fan I liken these Over-But-Not-Ended moments to the Stupefy charm feeling like this:
|I got this Gif from an Asian website. I couldn’t read the title.|
If only time stopped as well. I mean really stopped. Giving you time to “be” with no outward rush or worry. As opposed to going about your daily routine that now feels – you guessed it – endless – with no perceivable end in sight.
Here are some prime examples of what I’ll now call the “Season of Limbo.” Or Saison des Limbes. It’s so much more attractive in French.
The Saison de Limbes can look like:
1. An imminent divorce or breakup
2. Then dead end in a current profession or J-O-B
3. Care taking an elderly relative (A terrible example but a reality. You don’t want it to end but you are exhausted.)
4. Awaiting new military orders
5. When it might be physically time to move. To pick up and go. The energy is dead. The vibe is gone. But decisions have to be made. How will you survive etc etc…
6. When it seems like your inner circle has dispersed for obvious reasons or no apparent reasons at all and you are praying for new friends. But right now you feel alone.
7. When your entire value system has changed. And you find yourself, again, alone.
8. You are old. You are gray. You can feel your time is nearly over. But my friend, it has not ended. Nor will it ever.
Folks, if you think this isn’t serious stuff think again. Some poor lost souls do not make it through particular Seasons of Life because they mistake the limbo for “lifetime”. Too many, as you no doubt have seen in current events, don’t make it to the other side.
Let me say it another way. Limbo FEELS endless but it is not THE end. The mistake is in equating the feeling of dread, loss, hopelessness with a kind of forever. When something is “over but has not ended” is hard enough without this mistaken belief that re-birth does not exist; the mistaken belief that you are not merely in the middle of the tunnel where the light does not reach. But take just 25 more steps and there’s the glimmer.
You have to look for and believe in the glimmer. And above all you have to remember that you are not the first to experience the Season of Limbo and you certainly won’t be the last. So though you feel alone, you are one unique special beloved soul amongst many unique and special souls. Again I say, you are not alone.
There’s a responsibility here to our progeny. Hopelessness creates an unforgiving vacuum of lies about itself; convinces us that we have no place and that there is nothing left for us. However, limbo teaches us about hope. About leaning on wisdom; on God. About opening up to an idea of ourselves bigger than we’d imagined no matter how long it takes.
No matter how long it takes.
If you only have a designated 1 week, 1 year, or fill-in-the-blank to make it to the next perfect scenario, then you don’t get it. You have been seduced buy the lie of hopelessness. Limbo is the great classroom. While you are there floating in space like the itty bitty blue Pixies in Harry Potter you have T – I – M – E. Sure you didn’t ask for the time. But you got it. So treat it as a gift. Even if you feel the lowest of the low. Dig down deep. No light in the tunnel? Close your eyes and listen for the sound of a calling. The sound of Love calling you by name. Get very quiet. You will hear it.
Anything else you hear – trash it and move on. Go deeper.
You are one-half of the key ingredients of this recipe in the baking. Hopelessness devalues and weakens your will to prevail. You may be thinking you’re in this tunnel for mere survival (though if you are doing just that you are at least in the ring fighting the good fight). I’m talking about prevailing from your past and present condition.
You will prevail.
You WILL prevail.
Don’t believe this? That’s just the hopelessness talking and we don’t listen to that, remember?
So now what? Yes. You’re still there. It’s ok.
Hear your name being called to the next great moment in your beautiful gift of life. It IS great. Because it’s yours.
And then, you’ll be writing the next article, writing that next song, giving that next talk, for that one soul in desperate need of the knowledge that you prevailed. Now you have good news. They will prevail, too.