Living in the “In-Between” “The Still Point” A Perspective on Waiting

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement
from nor towards,
Neither ascent or decline. Except for the point,
the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

-T.S.Eliot, "Burnt Norton"

Tom Hank’s recent film The Terminal tells the story of a man who is stranded at New York’s Kennedy Airport when his home country becomes embroiled in a coup attempt. The man finds himself with a worthless passport and isn’t authorized to enter the United States. He finds himself existing in the terminal’s international transit lounge waiting for the war to end at home.

I spend more time than I’d like in airport transit lounges, and I can only imagine the depressing prospect of spending days, weeks or months in such a place.

Hanks’ character finds himself living, literally in the “In-Between;” at the “Still Point.” I relate with that sense of being neither at my place of departure with friends or family or familiar surroundings, nor at my place of arrival. I am so often “In-Between.”

The Church of the “In-Between”

For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, there is a consciousness that with regard to “the church” – we are living in the “In-Between.” We have left the “home” we knew but we have yet to arrive at our destination. We find ourselves waiting, hoping, anticipating; living in the “In-Between.”

I’ve learned to occupy my time while waiting for flights. Instead of browsing the cookie-cutter shops of airport concourses, I spend the time getting organized before my flight. I eat if I’m hungry and drink if I’m thirsty. I check phone messages. I’ve found that in the “In-Between,” in the seemingly endless waiting, I can accomplish something positive and valuable with the time allotted; that I can redeem the time.

So as we await the emergence of a church that produces more of what we’ve prayed for and what Jesus promised, try doing what I do as I await the call for my next flight: Instead of simply existing in the “transit lounge” with Hanks’ fictional character, eat if you’re hungry – He “stands at the door and knocks.” Drink if you’re thirsty, “Ho every one who thirsts, Come to the waters....” Check with heaven, talk to God; redeem the time “In-Between.”

There’s also the “In-Between” of prayers prayed and prayers answered. There’s the “In-Between” of waiting for healing from sickness and disease, or the “In-Between” of waiting for a son, daughter, husband or wife to surrender their lives to Jesus. 

There is the “In-Between” of a thousand problems and innumerable tragedies and impossible situations that strain our lives in so many ways.  

If you find yourself living in the “not yet” of God’s timing and intervention – Redeem the time. Make use of what you have. Do what you can do. Use the talents God has given you. Invest, believe, pray, hope, prepare, grow: Prosper in the “in-between.” Moses did: He was a better leader for the years of “in-between” in the barren desert. David did: He would have been a lesser king if not for the years spent fleeing from Saul. John the Baptist did: He came out of a time of desert loneliness, subsisting on locusts and wild honey, filled with the Spirit of God.

 Use the time of waiting, the time of frustration, the time of silence from heaven – whatever shape your “in-between” might take to become ready for what, though it tarry, will inevitably will come.

greg

 

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