Sunday, April 7, 2024



I envied this middle-aged woman who read beside me. Lost in her book, she ignored the noisy crowd in Montmartre, on a busy after-work afternoon in Paris. She had a glass of wine and dark olives. She smoked in between pages and looked lonely, completely lost in her thoughts. After hours of walking, I rested my legs, had a glass of wine myself, and sat there, watching the locals and tourists pass by. The lady then packed her bags and left. 

The image evokes the word, liminality—the in-between, the transition. 
Liminality represents threshold space, margins between paragraphs. If you can find yourself the luxury of pausing between obligations and demands, there you’ll find those mental spaces to muse. I remember a professor from graduate school, a brilliant lecturer, who would occasionally stop speaking and look out the window. I admired that, realizing he was reflecting in mid-flight. Because the constantly streaming media in our midst obstructs our natural musing tendencies, misconstrued as unproductive, threshold thinking becomes intentional.

The pausing and musing and resting are valuable ingredients to a rich inner life but things our generation often ignores and sets aside. We have lost the art of meditation and are now poorer for it, having settled for cheap alternatives, like social media. 

For the believer, this liminality can be likened to moments of prayer, those precious, Spirit-filled moments of quiet conversation and contemplation. 

Or Sundays, when much of the city gathers in houses of prayer, setting aside the cares of the world for a day devoted to church and, later, rest.

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