Living “In-Between”

One of the problems with history is that we do not live it the way we study it.  We study it in fragments because it is not possible to study everything all at once.  We break history into manageable parts and then try and put the all the parts back together in a way that is true to what happened and, hopefully, in a way that makes sense.  But that’s not all.  The way we study history leaves us with the impression that life actually happens in fragments, that life is just one thing after another.  We get the impression that the way life happens is, ”this event happens and then that event happens” (repeat).  The cumulative effect of all these events is our life.   When in truth, we actually live life ”from this to that”.  You see, we spend the majority of our life living in the space between events.

I believe that the majority of life is spent in transition, living “in-between” the events that shape and define who we are.  In fact, these events are  significantly shaped and defined by the way we live “in-between”.  Our lives are shaped and defined by the choices we make while we are waiting for something to begin or for something to end.  This is not just true for our lives.  It is also true of organizations, institutions, civilizations and nations.  Everything is destined to be in transition because it is touched by the mortal nature of humans passing through this life .  The very notion of history tells us that everything is somewhere on the spectrum between beginning and ending.  Coming to terms with this reality can be painful but also liberating.

In other words, we all must come to terms with the fact that our life in this world is not eternal.  It matters, but it is not eternal.  Neither are the organizations, institutions, civilizations or nations that exist in our moment of history.  I think that this issue of transition is part of the problem being faced by those who want to find resolution for the modern/postmodern dilemma.  The problem is that we are somewhere on the transition spectrum between modern and postmodern.  We cannot be fully one or the other because we are still both; therefore, attempts to resolve this issue, to be done with it and move on, are premature.  We are impatient with the “in-between”.

So, if this is true and we are all in transition, maybe more than one transition, what do we do?  We become alive to the moment we are in and make what contributions we can to the people who share it with us.  We try to be discerning about where we are on the spectrum while living with integrity and speaking truthfully.  Stay open.  Be willing to risk.   Listen and be attentive.  Be a good observer of the places and people where you live.  Believe that the events that change the world for better or worse are shaped and defined by people living in transition, living from this to that.

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