There always seems to be a long gap between the last thing we want to do and the next thing we want to do. A gap that many of us (myself especially) would choose to close in a hurry.
Getting from high school to college; from college to that first career-starting job; from being single to getting married; from a good paying job to a better paying job. But looking at it like a ladder, the next step is a little higher, a little riskier, requires a little more of us in the way of bravery, persistence, and strength.
And even after you’ve been out in the workforce, living your life, there are more in-between times ahead. Waiting for the new house to be ready, the baby to arrive, the new business venture to take off.
But in-between time isn’t idle time. Until that new day comes, this is space for planning and preparation. Your old digs need to be packed up and cleaned. The new baby’s room needs to be painted and furnished. Clothes and various accoutrements need to be obtained. Until the new business takes off, every client that comes our way is served with the utmost dignity, respect, and a smile.
Those in between times allow us to start creating the mindset for the next level of our life. It lets us catch glimpses of what’s to come. We prepare to the best of our ability: we research, read books, talk to people who have already been down the road upon which we’ve just begun to travel. It is our desire to advance.
Until we cross that great divide between the nearly past to the new future, there may be sleepless nights, a lot of questions and maybe even more than just a little concern. Is this the right move at this time? What if it doesn’t go the way we planned? Am I up to the challenges in the next level?
Remember the first long trip you took? Maybe it was summer camp, or spending the summer with a relative who lived far away or leaving the country for a mission trip. You talked about it for weeks, maybe months. Then you packed a suitcase and tied up loose ends at home. Most likely, you were barely able to sleep the night before your trip. The next day, you took your suitcase to the car and said your goodbyes and you were off on an adventure. It seemed like it took forever to get there. Waiting at lights, waiting in the airport, waiting for a connecting flight, waiting for a rental car. Waiting in traffic. Then you were on the road. And after a time, you finally arrived at your destination.
But here’s the question I’d like you to consider: At what point did the trip go from being a dream to being real? Was it when you bought the ticket? Told a friend? packed your bag? Or later, when the plane landed or when the car pulled up to the final destination?
Truthfully, all of it was part of the journey leading you from point A to point B. Failing any step along the way could have derailed the trip. But from the moment you took the first action, all the rest of it until you landed in front of destiny’s door was the in between. It’s what it takes to get where we need to go.
I look around at all the in-betweens. In tile terminology, it’s called interstices. Without the interstices in tilework or mosaics, some of the beauty is lost. Those gaps actually serve a purpose, and it’s to keep the tiles from moving around, keeping water from seeping underneath,and eroding or freezing and damaging the tile.
I’m reminded of these interstices everywhere I look, the space between keys on my computer keyboard, the yards between houses or alleys between businesses, the streets between city blocks. These gaps remind me that there is a natural order to progression, that these gaps and spaces whether visible, tangible or not tell us that we need to be intentional, and collect ourselves to cross over. It seems the more important the transition, the bigger the middle space.
What does this mean for you?
Is there an area in your life that is hovering in Middle Space? Maybe a relationship has ended, you’re waiting for an uptick in finances or you have received a negative health warning. Many of us would like to rush through the gaps and just be on the other side. But the truth is that many important life lessons lie in these gaps. These gaps don’t last forever. It just seems like it when you’re in them.
Interstices give us time for reflection, to consider all that has brought us to this point. They give us a chance to consider what the future could look like with a few adjustments, and even make backup plans in case things don’t go as smoothly as we hope.
And what it if doesn’t go like we planned? We don’t give up. We rally. When our suitcase didn’t arrive at our destination, we bought new clothes. When we ran into a traffic jam, we re-routed the trip. When the tire gets a flat we call roadside assistance or change the tire ourselves.
You are infinitely more resourceful than you give yourself credit for. Right now, just look back over your life. What trials and tribulations have you already overcome to be here today? Be proud of yourself! You’ve come a very long way.
Please let me hear from you if you’ve got a story to share. I look forward to your comments.