I look down at my feet: they’re puffier and a little wider than usual, but what, really, is “usual” these days? The left and the right, well, they haven’t worn heels for a good couple of months now, though not for lack of want. Instead, they’re happiest when propped up on a chair, when resting instead of moving, when still and submissive instead of pushing full-steam ahead, instead of hitting the ground running.
Like sledgehammers attached to the end of leggy appendages, they’re kind of my ladies-in-waiting.
Because really, every part of me – my ceaseless mind, my restless heart, my growing belly – is in wait. Baby Brother will arrive sometime the latter half of August, we think, and until then we play the Great Waiting Game. We embrace the liminal space, the in-between time of not quite knowing, of wondering and watching. This whole idea of liminal space, or liminality, as coined by Franciscan friar and author, Richard Rohr, is nothing short of beauty-filled to me: it gives word and definition and meaning to the tapping impatience of my toes, to the elongated, reaching stretch of my calves, my ankles, my feet.
A thousand times a day, it seems, my mind is submerged in questions (with these that follow solely about the baby – forget the rest of my internal musings): Who will he be, and what will his little personality eventually morph into? When will he actually arrive? Will my love for him be immediate, snap-of-the-fingers quick, or will it grow with time? Can I truly ever love him as much as I love his big brother? And whoever thought parenting more than one child was a good idea? For when there are more questions than answers, when we know that change is on the horizon but it’s just not there yet, that’s liminal space. When we feel like we’re living in the gray – even if we believe The Gray an ethereal place to be – we embrace liminality. We lean into waiting. We grab hold of the ellipses. Maybe we even whisper the words of U2’s “40,” a song that loosely echoes Psalm 40’s waiting theme:
I waited patiently for the Lord,
He inclined and heard my cry
He lifted me up, out of the pit
Out of the miry clay.
Though not listed above, my favorite part of the melody comes with the chorus, when Bono asks (and the audience repeats) the same simple question, “How long?” How long am I to sing this song? How long am I to be in this waiting space? At one point or another, it’s the song we each find ourselves singing – as evidenced by concertgoers while on tour for U2’s 1983 album, War. “40” ended the night. And the haunting chorus “How long? …How long?” continued its echoing lament long after the musicians left the stage.
Because it might not be our song today, but it might be the song we start singing tomorrow, or on tomorrow’s tomorrow. And when “How long?” begins its wail, we take heart, knowing we’re not alone. We’re not alone in waiting for news of the diagnosis, and we’re not alone in our loneliness. We’re not alone in the newness of transition, and we’re not alone in the pain of the infertility and in the pain of labor and delivery alike.
And this, I suppose, gives my weary sledgehammer, ladies-in-waiting feet hope – for they know they’re not alone.
Today’s post originally appeared on my friend Ginger’s blog – click here to check out her words and to see the full “In Her Shoes” series. I think you’ll love it! In the meantime, how are you living in a liminal place? And (more importantly), how badly do your feet want to don a pair of heels?