Why “in between”? Because that’s where I live. We all live there, actually, in the reality that exists between the now and the not yet, between the past and the future, between what we want and what we have, between who we want to be and who we are.
From a Christian perspective, this is how it is and how it will be until we are called home or Christ returns. We live in the truth of salvation, redemption, and restoration. But we have not yet been fully restored. We have the hope, the promised hope, of an eternity filled with joy. But we live in a broken world, a world full of pain, sorrow, loss, unmet desires, and sin (other people’s and our own), and that is also our truth.
I used to think that this in-between-ness of life was just a phase, that it was a temporary stopping point on my journey, and that one day I would move on to “there,” wherever “there” is. Being almost 30 and still single, the “there” in my mind has for years been marriage. Despite the wisdom of others reminding me again and again that this was a foolish thought, it still permeates my mind. I know it to be false, I know that marriage will not get me to the elusive “there,” but my heart is stubborn and I can’t help but think it would certainly help me get on my way “there.” And so for the last eight years, I have been living in the in-between state of adult singleness. In my early twenties, I assumed this would be a very temporary state, but alas, I was wrong. I still hope it’s a temporary state, but I’m shooting for moderately temporary at best.
Even so, in the last eight years of being somewhere I never particularly wanted to be, I have learned a great deal, mostly from the wisdom of other people, though occasionally my stubborn heart has picked up a thing or two of its own. I have learned that relationships, even with people you love dearly, can bring their own pain and sorrow. I have had my heart broken, and been on a number of bad (or just awkward and sometimes funny) dates. I’ve been the girl her married friends wanted to live vicariously through (I get that I have a ton of stories that don’t involve children, but there is nothing glamorous about my life, except that bodily excretions never make me late or ruin my clothes).
But I have also learned from the pain of other people who are living in their own “in-betweens.” That space between marriage and children when a child is so desperately yearned for, the place between pain and healing that will never be realized on this earth, the devastation of losing a child, the loss of parents far too young, the grief of a young wife becoming widowed, the years-long battles with cancer, the long wait of unemployment, the parents’ desire for an empty house again, the empty nesters’ desires for grandchildren (my mother wanted to be a grandmother by age 60…not gonna happen). As a much wiser woman recently told me, there will always be another thing—another sadness, another loss, another frustration, another disappointment.
“In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Ah. There’s the hope. Yes, this world will bring us trouble of different kinds, but that is not the end of my story. Right now, I am living in an acute in-between, that of healing from the end of a relationship that lasted (on and off) for a year and a half, with a man I loved. And this is my journey, with all of its tears and all of its laughter, of a life lived between the now and the not yet.