Laurent turned twelve last week. We had a small family celebration in his honor.

Laurent is at the threshold of adolescence. This is a slow journey. We don't rush our children to grow up and we afford them as much childhood as we can possibly give them; that also means a long threshold at the entrance to adolescence.

I've mentioned already this winter that I am walking across my own threshold into a new stage of parenting. As I shared in a recent weekend newsletter "...our kids' growth has rattled me this winter. I'm excited to see them grow but I'm not entirely comfortable letting go (even when it's just Damien taking charge in areas that used to be my domain). I feel stretched."

I am crossing thresholds in more areas of my life than just parenting. That's in part what last week's learning posts (with more to come this week), are all about.

As I cross thresholds in parenting, in personal knowledge and learning, and in my work as a homeschool mom, homemaker, encourager and teacher, I sometimes get caught in a place of looking back at what I'm growing away from.

You can't grow into new places and new experiences attached to old routines and ways of doing things.

The lessons we learn always stay with us and our core values remain the same. The personal growth - who we are - is what we carry forward across the threshold. It's the old routines and mindsets that we often have to leave behind.

But crossing that threshold can be scary. A threshold is an in-between place. No longer are in you in the place you were but you are not completely in the place you are moving to inhabit either.

Last year a friend mailed me a box of books I would describe as Christian contemplative reading. Included in that box was To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue .(I recommend this book for non-Christians also.)

I have wondered if it's time to pass the book on to someone else, so last week I leafed through it to decide if I still wanted to keep it. I came across the following passage that I highlighted sometime last year. Words I feel were written "for such a time as this" in my life.

It remains the dream of every life to realize itself, to reach out and lift oneself up to greater heights. A life that continues to remain on the safe side of its own habits and repetitions, that never engages with the risk of its own possibility, remains an unlived life. There is within each heart a hidden voice that calls out for freedom and creativity. We often linger for years in spaces that are too small and shabby for the grandeur of our spirit...

Looking back along a life's journey, you come to see how each of the central phases of your life began at a decisive threshold where you left one way of being and entered another. A threshold is not simply an accidental line that happens to separate one region from another. It is an intense frontier that divides a world of feeling from another. Often a threshold becomes clearly visible only once you have crossed it. Crossing can often mean the total loss of all you enjoyed while on the other side; it becomes a dividing line between the past and the future. More often than not, the reason you cannot return to where you were is that you have changed; you are no longer the one who crossed over.

(emphasis mine)

So I'm keeping the book because its words still speak strongly to me. And I need this kind of support in my life for learning, change and growth.

I have one more thing to share with you this morning, from the blessing For the Interim Time from the same book.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

« A definition of study
I may have been wrong about myself »
  • Tonya

    Tonya on March 4, 2013, 3:18 p.m.

    Renee, I am in/on a threshold right now - my husband and I are struggling so... a time of redefining each of ourselves and where we are going together and as a family. I wrote today about how our passions are our gifts which we then give to others. love, Tonya P.S. Do you have any suggestions for someone (aka dear husband) who isn't in touch with his passions and is unable to form goals or define gifts? - perhaps a book or life coach? - your husband doesn't do that does he? - Mike really enjoyed his blog post about creativity. pps Happy Birthday to Laurent!


    • Kika

      Kika on March 4, 2013, 5:46 p.m.

      I'm just about to begin reading, "The Element: how finding your passion changes everything" by Ken Robinson. Maybe you could check it out through the library and see if it's something your husband might like to read.


  • Mindy

    Mindy on March 4, 2013, 6:41 p.m.

    Happy Birthday to Laurent!!


    "A life that continues to remain on the safe side of its own habits and repetitions, that never engages with the risk of its own possibility, remains an unlived life. There is within each heart a hidden voice that calls out for freedom and creativity. We often linger for years in spaces that are too small and shabby for the grandeur of our spirit..."

    This speaks so deeply to me in so many ways and places in my life right now. Thank you.


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on March 4, 2013, 6:45 p.m.

    I love this book "Bless the Space Between Us" and I need to repeatedly get it out of the library because it speaks to me so (and I am a non-Christian but contemplative anyway;)Thanks for the original link. Happy Birthday Laurent.


  • Sarah

    Sarah on March 4, 2013, 6:58 p.m.

    Those quotes are beautiful... and I have found them true in my life. Childhood and adolescence are interesting times because because many people change so vastly, so quickly. One of my favorite blessings is this "Wisdom Blessing that my dad wrote on my birthday card a few years ago:

    May you choose outrageous actions that challenge who you are and encourage who you are becoming.

    May you take one step, however small, towards that which you have always longed for. Now is the right time!

    May you recognize the unique and powerful contribution that you bring to the people whose lives you touch.

    May you be as grand and wonderful as you really are, and do things because you want to, not just because you should.

    May you celebrate your creativity and find peace and purpose and passion amidst the chaos and suffering.

    May you reach towards the spirit with a longing that keeps you present to the miracles available all around you, all the time.

    May your faith move any mountains that stand in your way and may your heart awaken and open.

    May wisdom be your guide and may love be at the center of all your choices.

    ~Shiloh Sophia McCloud Happy birthday to Laurent!


  • Heather Caliri

    Heather Caliri on March 5, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

    Wow, this book looks great to me, too. I really see so much in common with the culture shock and liminalness of moving into a different country. You are changed, forever, by the differences and challenges of the new culture. You can't go back. And the change is painful; you greive the losses. But the wideness of your eyes, the possibilities you see are so worth it, are life-giving and challenging in a way that ordinariness can't touch. Blessings to you as you move into this threshold, Renee!


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on March 9, 2013, 3:42 p.m.

    I have already asked to add this book to our local library collection - it looks wonderful! I am searching for a better understanding of blessing and I think this might help me with that. Ask and you shall receive. I recently found your blog and I have really enjoyed it!


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