Distressing as these in-between times of the season may be, they can also be nourishing for the soul.
Walking in the woods lately I've begun to spot signs of this in-between place. Many trees have long lost their coat of many colors and stand naked against a gray sky and chilly wind. It looks like winter. But it isn't quite yet. Although there is snow on the ground and the temperatures are falling, we have another few weeks before winter sets in in earnest.
I can feel the seasons change as I continue to walk the woods. The air is brisker than it once was. Squirrels are fattening themselves for the months to come. And a layer of ice has formed on the nearby lake.
There are fewer bird songs in these quiet woods. The trees groan as they relinquish themselves to this in-between season.
What does this in-between season represent for you?
For many of us, experiencing an in-between place can be uncomfortable. We Americans are used to going from Point A to Point B with relative speed. We are in such a hurry. Being stuck in the in-between can be unnerving for us. How then can it be a space of nourishment for our soul as the quote above suggests?
Perhaps these in-between seasons should be viewed not with uneasiness but as a gift. Maybe we should view the in-between as a spiritual waiting room. A chance to slow. To replenish. To listen. To watch.
Advent is after all the season of waiting. Waiting and watching. A season of hope for the future.
Are you willing to wait on God so that he can begin something new in you?
It is not what you are or what you have been that God sees with all merciful eyes, but what you desire to be.
—Cloud of Unknowing
What is it that do you most desire to be?
I long to be a woman after God's own heart. But I know that I am so very far from that woman that I long to be. Perhaps that is why I am in this place of in-between. Maybe God is shifting something in me to prepare me for what is to come.
Might God be inviting you into the in-between place to lovingly nudge you to leave behind what was, to embrace what's to come?
I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.