I learned a new word last summer from my friend, Meredith Stone. Liminality.

In her sermon at the Baptist Women in Ministry’s annual worship service, Meredith defined, described, and brought to life what was a new word in my vocabulary. And I have been pondering and exploring the significance of this word ever since.

Liminality. From the Latin “limin,” the word means “being in an intermediate state, phase, or condition; the in-between, the transitional.” Robert Fulghum, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives defined liminality as the “transitional phase of personal change wherein one is neither in an old state of being nor a new, and not quite aware of the implications.” (Fulghum’s book was one of my favorite reads in 2012–I love his stories about celebrating, ritualizing the great moments of life).

Liminality. I think I am drawn to this word because I live there. Seems like I have always lived there. My address has always been “in transition,” “somewhere in-between.” And I am not alone. Liminality is a shared address. It is where we all live. We live in the not yet but almost. We have our memories, what we were, what we had, what we have been, but at the same time, we look longingly at our future, hoping for that which will be, what we shall become. We live in the middle–not in the past but not too close yet to the future. We have left the starting block but can’t quite see the finish line.

As 2012 ends and 2013 begins, I find myself again thinking about liminality, and wondering about all that this next year holds. I am not one to make resolutions, but I am one who reflects long and hard on what has been and then ponders on what is yet to come.

As is most often true for me, I have found help in reading the words of others.  And today I find comfort, inspiration, and hope in words written by Barbara Hamilton-Holway in 2002, in her book Evensong: An Eight-Week Series of Gatherings: 

Now you are ready–
As ready as you are going to be.
Neither you nor the world can wait for your fears to subside.
Step forward.
You need no more preparation.
You need no longer be on the outside observing.
The world awaits not your timid hesitation,
Not your clever critique,
Not your tidy observations.
The world invites your participation-
right here,
right now,
Come, partake.
Speak. Listen.
Love boldly. 

My hope for myself and for you in 2013 is that we will step forward. We will partake . . . and speak . . .  and listen, but most of all we will love, and we will love boldly–even as we dwell in liminality. May it be so.

Pam Durso is the executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.