As a child growing up around grandparents some of their phrases were a puzzle to me. I do not remember when I first heard the description “betwixt and between” but it caught my attention and my curiosity. It sounded like such a fun phrase. However, what I remember is that when used, it seemed to describe a “middling” time when words such as uncertain, antsy, puzzled, fearful, anxious, excitable, nervous, curious, irritable, impatient, unresolved, confused, reactive (such big adult kind of words) might describe how people seemed to respond to things during such a time. Another similar phrase would pop up from time to time as someone would comment, “It’s neither fish nor fowl!” and I realized they did not mean what might show up on my plate at suppertime. But that phrase also seemed to refer to something uncertain, a time or some thing defying definition and lacking clarity.
We are finding ourselves in a “betwixt and between” time now. Easily, as definitions offer, we are experiencing life in a middle or unresolved place or time, neither clearly one thing nor the other prevailing in our vision – whatever we may be trying to describe. I could be referring to a lot of things during this unsettled time we find we have to face due to health issues, both physical and societal that have landed on our plates and in our lives, but so much of which used to be “normal” is no longer.
There are better ways to respond in such “betwixt and between” times than I listed above. Just consider some of their opposites: patient, calm, thoughtful, proactive, even exciting to name a few. Let’s keep the word “curious” and maybe add “creative” to the mix. Betwixt and between times are provocative and paradoxical. A time to consider what was in the past, what is now happening in the present and what possibilities may emerge for the future. As jumbled, uncertain, and confusing as such a time might be, it offers a uniquely motivated time to explore possibilities and reframe a vision positively for an emerging yet-to-come. And to do so, not bound by fear of what might be lost in the outcome, but by hope of a revised richness which can result from the in between time we are having to move through.
Let’s hold these thoughts in some spaciousness and openness of heart, mind and spirit as we move along in this “middling” time and vision ahead for our churches, our congregations, our family life, our communal life together in the concentric circles in which we live, move and have being even, as daunting as it might prove, at local, regional, national and world wide levels. (P. S. Please tune in to my Mid-Week Reflection this week to explore more thoughts for a creative way through betwixt and between times.)
For now, in this middling time for our life together, at least I ask your special focus on something dear to the hearts of our congregational, communal life as “church” as we plan regathering in person in the physical presence of each other. Your Vestries and I as your Priest-in-charge have submitted a plan for regathering initially for outdoor in-person worship, taking into consideration the guidelines the Diocese has proposed to try and assure both our individual and our communal health and safety as we gather again in each other’s physical presence. A copy of our Memorandum to the Bishop of Virginia seeking approval of our plan for outdoors worship is linked
for your information as we move towards ultimate regathering later on indoors in our church buildings.
The key to moving through this middling time is good discernment. I ask you to do your best in discerning what is best for you and your health at this time. The phrase “Come as I am are able!” is the recommendation for a mantra as you consider the options for gathering on Sunday mornings in July and August and discern what is best for you week by week, day by day now. Outdoor worship in physical presence of others or home worship in the virtual (by computer or telephone) presence with others. Or it may simply be choosing on a Sunday morning to sit quietly in the outdoors just outside your own door and tune in to the bird song choir serenading you there. Or to linger in bed or over breakfast with the prayer on your heart, “This is the day the Lord has made, may I be thankful for it and joyful in it!” Feel free to be creative about your connecting with God your Creator, the Lord, your Savior and the Holy Spirit, the Weaver of your life – connecting with the Divine and with all that has been created for us to share life together.
Wherever and however you discern to be on Sunday mornings to connect with the Divine and those God has put in your life as fellow travelers along this journey we call the Way of Life, may you find peace, calm, harmony, and most of all Love surrounding, strengthening and embracing you.
By God’s amazing Grace, may it be so . . .