It’s a cool comfortable evening as she went to the computer at the end of long and busy day. The woman opened up her Facebook account and there she began to read various clips from this website and that news cast. About five items down there was a personal post about a friend who was in her last hours of life; and would those seeing this who knew this person, please say a blessing or pray for her. The post had been made by a family member who was probably present and helping the dying person go home… This is what our intrepid reader told herself. And our reader stopped in time to pray for the dying friend, all the visions of her friend from childhood come flooding back. She saw them playing together in the park, she heard the laughter of teens… And now, she felt the reality of it all. Someone good was leaving this life.
In Limbo. Death of a loved one can place us there, loss of work can place us there, an unexpected fight which separates us from one another can also place us in limbo.
Limbo. It’s a place where we can’t move, can’t make a decision, can’t think things through to a logical conclusion, can’t even land in an emotion that offers release. Limbo. It just is, and we are there in it rolling around in a sea of no steps forward to take us anywhere. Limbo.
Limbo seems to suck our life away for a time. We watch everyone else moving forward and we’re just stuck! We can think enough to realize that other people have lives and are living them. We may even ask ourselves, “Is this hell?”
And then there’s the “bubble affect” where we seem caught in a bubble… We’re looking out seeing everyone else’s life (we believe) go in every good direction and we say to ourselves, “I want that!” So we start running in the bubble toward that direction only to realize that we’re just rolling around in a circle watching Mr. or Ms. Perfect walk out of sight to continue their perfect life. So we sit down in the bubble to ask ourselves what we can do to end this limbo “action.” We get silent. We go into ourselves and then (for me) to God. I listen to myself breathe. I can hear the clock in the house tick and wait. I hear the silence. Little by little the silence lulls me into a more peaceful state.
Limbo often means that it’s time to sit down, or lie down. To become quiet and rest both body and soul. Probably the constant movement that preceded this moment has been a habit of constant movement. A habit that makes us believe that all of life’s solutions lie in perpetual motion. And, we think, in our moment of shock, that running is the answer. All the while, the soul is telling the body to stop everything. And Limbo arrives without an invitation and as a necessity to save us from ourselves.
I don’t like being in limbo anymore than the next guy. I want answers NOW. I want to keep moving and think on my feet and to not waste a single moment of my life. Yet, there are times when this is not our friend. We couldn’t or can’t recognize the calamity that is our habit, in that moment of shock; therefore, Limbo takes over to save us. It doesn’t mean we have to like it. (I don’t like getting shots when I’m sick or taking medicine.) Yet, if this is what I need, then I must yield to it to recover.
Her prayer was completed. She fell back in her chair and cried for her friend. Tears rolled down her face and she lived in those moments of stillness rolling in the big bubble, watching her friend drift away in her mind’s eye, while Limbo healed her.
May you also heed the need to go silently at times, and to sit quietly with Him who gave us life.
Carolyn Thomas Temple