Friday, March 14, 2014


informal, adjective

Situated somewhere between two extremes or recognized categories; intermediate.
"I am not unconscious, but in some in-between state"

I haven't been posting sermons recently because I haven't been preaching. This is an  in-between time for me--in-between leaving St. John's in Asheville, NC and arriving at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, Vermont. I like the above definition of the word in-between---"situated somewhere."  Yes. Somewhere. I also like the example they used in the definition: I am not unconscious, but in some in-between state.  That makes me laugh! I am glad to know I am only in some in-between state and not unconscious!

Sometimes, amidst the overwhelming task of packing up our household, I have felt that being unconscious might be a preferable state. In-between times have their challenges. But no, I have not given up preaching;  I am only in some in-between state.

Sometimes that in-between state is quite literal. I left Asheville and went north to Valle Crucis. This was for both joy (being with my husband for just a few more hours--he is still working in NC until the end of the year) and torture (getting all our 2013 tax stuff organized to go to the accountant. God bless that dear man!!).

Then I did change my state--literally. I left the state of NC and headed north to Charlottesville, Virginia to see friends. That was a delight. Well, seeing friends was a delight--the numerous traffic jams and sitting still on I-81 was not so much a delight.

At one point along the journey, seeing another traffic jam ahead, I decided to exit to get some gas. After refueling, I turned my phone back to Google maps and a voice said: "I can get you there a shorter way." Seriously?!!! Well, why not? So being led by the voice of my iPhone (and a satellite that obviously had a bigger picture), I turned right instead of the left that would have led me back to the interstate and followed the verbal directions down a dirt road or two and indeed! we bypassed the entire logjam on I-81. Amazing. Who says technology isn't friendly?!

In-between is as much a journey, if not more so, than having arrived (or never having left). Sometimes we have to leave our spiritual interstate and head off down a bumpy dirt road, trusting that God has a much bigger picture  than we do.

I was blessed to see Danby and Mike, some friends in Charlottesville we have known and loved for almost 40 years. The highway then led to Tarrytown, New York for an overnight with Susan and David, friends from seminary and the gift of worshipping at Susan's church on Sunday morning. I felt truly blessed to sleep in their daughter's bed, as Megan is now a freshman at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Hard to believe I met these friends when Megan was 5 years old, just starting kindergarden in Alexandria at the same time the three of us were beginning seminary at VTS.


From Tarrytown I headed to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts for treasured time with our daughter and her family. Nothing like a few days of play dough and playing with baby dolls and grandchildren to remind one of the truly important things in life. I love this painting that Penelope did--as she was painting she said, "I am painting a circle of love."

I am at Gonzaga now, the Eastern Point Retreat House of the New England Jesuits, for an 8-day silent Ignatian retreat. I came here last May during my sabbatical and that time was pure gift. I am discovering that gift once more in my time here.

My spiritual director this morning offered a definition of prayer as "wasting time with God." I believe that is a Henri Nouwen quote. By the time I got to my journal I wrote that prayer was "wasting time with someone you love and someone who loves you." That certainly describes God, but my paraphrased definition makes me realize that our whole journey is holy, prayer-filled. My slow journey northward to our new home of Burlington, Vermont is full of "wasted time" with those I love and those who love me. God is in every step of this journey, every crevice of this in-between time.

1 comment:

Tom E said...

This was beautiful. Thanks Jeanne. Peace on your journey and this in between time for you.