Liminality. noun. According to Dictionary.com’s more obscure definition that’s hidden part way down the page (I like to think I worked hard for this), “the condition of being on a threshold or at the beginning of a process.”
Last weekend at my university’s leadership retreat, I experienced something life-changing.
I tried blobbing.
For those of you not current on Christian camp lingo, the blob is essentially a huge floating pillow that’s attached to a gigantic tower. One person clambers out to the end of the blob, while another climbs to the top of the tower. The person on the end waits while the other yells “Blobbing!” and throws him- or herself from the tower onto the blob. Due to basic principles of physics, the poor sucker on the end gets launched into the air and comes crashing down onto the water.
Whoever came up with this diversion from the solitude and nature and Jesus discussions and normal swimming of camp was sick.
But I actually did this thing.
And I kind of wanted to die.
Some people love blobbing. Those people must not hate heights, or hate ladders, or hate feeling like they have no control over their actions and might land on their heads and kill themselves. I am not one of those people. I tolerated the blob. I’m glad I tried it, mostly just because I can now say that I conquered it. But there is no love on my part.
The worst part of the whole blobbing thing is the point where you actually have to jump. It’s literally the point of no return. And it’s terrifying. Your mind is screaming “What the heck are you doing?” as you fling yourself from a ridiculous height. Your toes have just left the edge and are grabbing for something solid but coming up with only air and you can see your life flash before your eyes and you really want to turn around and grab back onto the edge but only cartoon characters can do that and you think you might miss the blob and crash into the water and break your legs and back and face.
The second I summoned my courage and jumped was a liminal moment.
There was no going back. I could shriek and panic and pray that it (as in my short foolish life in which I had not gained enough wisdom to stay on solid ground) would be over soon and I would be with Jesus, but none of that would change my circumstances or my amount of control. All I could do was hope that my aim was good enough and that the blob would catch me.
Right now, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the tower again.
I am on the edge of a year of sharing life with the 38 sweet girls of Phileo 2, of walking with them through the messes and victories and joys of college.
I am on the edge of the scariest class schedule I’ve faced yet, the one where I learn the nitty-gritty of teaching Language Arts and step into a real classroom with real students for real school days where I will do real teaching.
I am on the edge of a year of unknowns, where I will encounter challenges and newness and bravery and beauty.
When it’s over, I will not be the same.
This year, I am going to change and grow and mature and develop. I don’t think I could go through intense Ed classes and the rigors of being an RA and my junior year of college in general and not come out a different person, shaped and molded by the stress and tears and sweat and laughter of another nine months of life.
And the latest liminal moment officially kicks off in a few breaths as the freshmen move in to the dorms.
Any minute now, I’m going to have to jump.
Once I leave the edge, there will be no going back.
It could end with a flawless finish. It could end with a backflop.
The unknowns and uncontrollables are killing me.
But one thing is certain. Jesus has me here at this point of no return for a reason. He’s going to catch me, and regardless of my perception of the ending, it’s going to be Good.
Jumping is still scary. But with Him I can do it.
Who wants to scream with me on the way down?