Have you ever found yourself in a train station when nobody is there? How about an empty parking lot at night? Or the back stairwell in your office building that no one really uses?
Do you ever notice how these spaces have a feeling of strangeness to them? You’re not the only one. These places are called ‘liminal spaces‘ which means a space that’s in transition in some way. These liminal spaces feel very strange when they’re new, or empty, or not being used. A stairwell is comfortable when you pass other people. But go there at night, when no one else is using it, and it feels odd.
Liminal spaces aren’t always physical — they can be mental, periods of transition that make us feel ungrounded and even lost. Right now, most of us are in a liminal space, although some of us are feeling it more than others.
Have you found yourself wanting to mask up, even though you don’t have to in certain spaces? Have you wondered if it is really safe, even when the CDC has announced it is? Are you wondering how to interact with others who you haven’t seen in a while? Are you drawn to staying in your “virtual” workspace rather than return to your normal workspace? Are you feeling lost, out of sorts, or like you don’t know what to do with yourself after the pandemic — where you will worship, where or when you will volunteer?
All of these are examples of the liminal space many of us find ourselves in. This is all normal. For me, it’s like walking through a parking lot when no one is around. Sort of creepy, you know you’ll get through it, but it is sort of scary. Maybe it’s not that dramatic; maybe it’s more like being in a corridor of a building you’ve never been in before. You don’t quite know where you’re supposed to be or where you’re going, but you find your way eventually. Usually, you find someone to ask or some sort of map of the building to get your bearings. That’s what we need now, in our own worldwide liminal space.
For some folks, that means talking to a loved one or a close friend about the place you find yourself. For many others, talking to a counselor to develop a roadmap can be incredibly helpful. This space doesn’t go on forever. It never does. Soon, we will be back to some kind of normal — but this is a time to determine what you want your new normal to be like. That is where talking to someone about it can come in really handy.
If you need someone to talk to, please let us know.