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The space in between

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    Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. Matt 27v61

    Living overseas, the space in between is something that we know well. Whether we are going or returning, there is always a pause between saying goodbye and saying hello, a sense of being in suspension, when we’ve left but not yet arrived.

    Sometimes it can be wonderfully freeing. It is a space where we have no responsibilities, no obligations. It is the perfect opportunity to stop and be. You are free to be who you want to be, there are no expectations upon you as an individual.

    Sometimes the space is very necessary. It is one of the things often bemoaned about the speed of modern-day travel for the expatriate – the space in between is over too quickly. In years gone by, when journeying was done by boat or by train, the ‘in between’ could last for weeks on end, giving travellers significant time to reflect and ready themselves for what lay head. In the modern world, this time is still greatly needed, but over far too quickly. Physically we are speedily transported from one world to the next, but our emotions and feelings can be lagging behind.

    Sometimes this in-between time is challenging. Depending what is going on in our lives, it can be a lonely and difficult vacuum of time, of uncertainty, unknowing, fearing and doubting.  

    The space isn’t always a journey. As a parent, I enjoy the space in between if the children are watching TV, playing nicely together, or at the end of a play date. It is all too easy to steal a minute or two of extra peace, stalling before facing the inevitable disappointment, bickering, noise and chaos that ensues after interrupting their activity.

    The time between Jesus’ death and resurrection is the ultimate ‘in between’ time. A time when Jesus’ disciples would have been trying to process, uncertain of what lay ahead, a place of waiting, not knowing, feeling out of control.

    The space in between is something experienced by each of us in different ways, at different times. There is an art to just sitting in that space, of accepting it for what it is and enjoying the fact that, just for a moment, someone has hit the pause button for us.

    God, thank you for the times when you create moments of space in my life. Help me to seize these moments, to accept them for what they are, no matter what emotions they conjour up. Teach me to sit in these moments and to receive what you have for me in these times. Amen

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