Limbo on Holy Saturday
When I agreed to come here two years ago, I basically knew what I was getting into, except for the bike path. I had lived 25 years ago in another part of this area and didn’t find a home for my soul then, either. This city where I’m now living was barely beginning to be developed then – now it is completely developed and outlying parts of the prairie are being devoured in big chunks to grow new strip malls and McMansions. When I agreed to minister here for a couple of years, I told the church that I could never find a home here. It is a running joke between us, congregation and interim minister.
So this period has been one of transition for me as I have sought the settled ministry that my heart aches for – it has been a long journey. So the past couple of years have been a sort of limbo time. Now that I have been called to a congregation in which I feel that I can thrive, and ditto in the city where I’m moving, I feel even more in limbo – between the No Longer (well, almost) and the Not Yet.
Limbo was that sort of non-place in Catholic theology (now discredited, thank God) where babies who died who had not received baptism went for maybe a gazillion years until God would finally relent and let them through the Pearly Gates. Limbo is that time when one can get lost in the empty spaces between what was and what will be. For me, it is a time when I can isolate myself and, while I’m disengaging from my current arrangements, I can buy into the fiction that real life is elsewhere – like in my new digs where I won’t land for many weeks. It’s a time when I let myself off the hook because I’m not really ‘here’ anymore, nor am I ‘there’. But I am here – in this city that is not a home. I am here -- needing to finish an interim ministry that has been the source of much hope and change for this congregation. I am here needing to keep on tending to the relationships that we have forged.
I need to face the death of this interim ministry while I acknowledge the healing that has transformed me as well as the church. I need to immerse myself in the goodbyes that need to be said, a few fences that yet need to be mended, and many appreciations that need to be openly noted. I need to feel and express my gratitude for the transition that enabled me to find the ministry of my heart’s desire. I find that, in this limbo, I have grown my soul in important ways. The limbo of this time is reflected in the limbo of this Holy Saturday – I’ve felt the ashes of despair, and I know that resurrection follows, and that it is even more joyous when I’ve done the work of living deeply in limbo times.