When I was younger, so much of life was black and white to me. Right and wrong was as easy to discern as apples from oranges. But the problem with that kind of thinking is that all you ever get are those two things. It’s kind of like saying there’s only midnight and noon, when the time of day is either fully night or fully day. Arguably, the most beautiful parts of most days are the in- between times of sunrise and sunset. The day is not fully one thing or the other…and the sky bursts into colors that artists have been trying to capture for thousands of years.
Sadly, this kind of thinking carried into other parts of my life, too. A pursuit in life either was God’s will, or it wasn’t. People were Christians or they weren’t. Someone was: married or single, sick or healthy, a parent or not, family or not…and on and on. I limited myself to categories for situations and people. And this measure that I held up to things left no room for growth or change or even an appreciation of the in-between spaces where God shows up and does amazing things.
Jesus was never bound by this either/or thinking that we limit ourselves to. He was able to see and appreciate the in-between. For example, the woman at the well… She was a Samaritan, and a divorcee and/or a widow, and definitely felt the weight of her life experiences as she lived each day. But Jesus wasn’t limited by the labels that society put on her. He wasn’t bound by her past…and he wasn’t in a hurry for her to become who she’d be in the future. He embraced her in her in-between and she was arguably one of the more effective evangelists in the New Testament.
Sometimes I think we are so quick to be on one side or the other of a circumstance or idea or relationship…that we neglect to see the in-between as its own space. And perhaps the in-between is equally important with a potential and possibility all its own. Sometimes crises happen in that in between and character is revealed. Sometimes revelations happen in the in-between and minds are inspired and opportunities expand. And sometimes nothing happens in the in-between…and you get the beautiful gift of learning how to be alone and quiet. God is equally in all of that and I am beginning to think it’s where I see him the most clearly. When my mind is the most open and my heart is not fully in one place or the other. So I want to learn to acknowledge the in-between and look for it, the same way I look to see the sun when it’s not fully day and not fully night.