infertility, photography, writing

On the Threshold

I wrote this in early April as a submission to SheLoves online magazine for the May theme of “Places.” My essay wasn’t chosen, so I am sharing it here! The inspiration comes from guided meditation offered by Christianne at Bookwifery in preparation for the four-week book planning course I’m currently taking.

I also recently took some photos at the Indianapolis Art Center, focusing particularly on different images of “thresholds.” I’ve included some throughout this essay.

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I have been standing at this threshold for awhile now. Before that I was sitting, leaning with my back against the closed door, head bowed. Before that I could hardly look at the door. I sat in a chair at a distance, knowing the door was there, but unwilling to move anywhere near it. But now — now I’m standing at the threshold of that door and it’s open.

The threshold is a place I’ve lived for much of my life. The in-between place. The almost but not yet. It’s in this place that I stand and observe from where I’ve come and where I might go. It’s from this vantage point that I have the opportunity to reflect on what was and what may be.

It’s not a bad place to be, but it’s hard to settle into life when there’s always a threshold to stand in. Thresholds are temporary places. They aren’t meant for long-term housing, and yet, that’s where I’ve lived for so long. Just waiting for the next thing to happen instead of living it.

Indianapolis Art Center

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The other day I imagined myself standing at the threshold of our front door. I stood there with one hand holding a door open, while the other hand was pushing a door back. I was standing there with a slight lean toward the open door, but not letting go of the door behind me.

I could sense the excitement on my face, in my heart. I could feel the smile emerging, the joy bubbling up. It felt strange and familiar. I’ve been here before.

The threshold is solid. There’s no fear of falling but it doesn’t offer much stability. It’s like my feet want to fall forward or back. They don’t want to stay in this in-between place.

I look behind me and there’s a mirror reflecting the outdoors, the space I’m moving toward. That mirror reminds me of where to go and urges me to keep going.

Indianapolis Art Center

I look in front of me and there is a tree, ready to bloom any day now. The grass is bright green, a special green reserved for the first few days of spring. Bulbs have pushed leaves out of the ground. Birds are flying back and forth from this tree to that. The air is fresh and warm. I sense joy and excitement from creation. I feel a calm presence around me. I’m sure the next steps I’ll take will be on this solid ground in front of me.

Then I look a little bit closer and there She is. The Divine is standing on the porch holding that door open with me. Like the mirror behind me, the Divine in front of me ushers me forward with a slight gesture of Her hand. But, She’s waiting with me. Full of love and peace, She’s patiently waiting, ready to move when I move. There’s no urgency in her spirit. She knows I’ll move when I’m good and ready.

“Thank you for helping me get this far,” I tell Her. “Thank you for walking with me on the next part of the journey. Thank you for never letting me go.”

We both let go of the door as I walk forward. Her arm wraps around my shoulder as we stand there together on the other side of the door — the door I’ve longed to walk through for so many years now. I rest my head on Her shoulder and relish in this moment of rest and gratitude.

Indianapolis Art Center

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This is but one threshold I’ve crossed over: graduations, new jobs, marriage, buying a house, divorce, selling a house, traveling the country in an RV, trusting in marriage again. And now this one, the hardest yet — infertility.

I may have stayed on the other side of the threshold longer this time, but I needed to be there. That place was safe and secure, like huddling under a warm quilt on a winter night. But now, spring is here and as I found myself moving to the door, ever so slowly, I felt the excitement building about what might be on the other side. I started peeking through the window and grabbed hold of the door knob. I even took the brave, bold step of opening the door. And, when I did, I saw so much beauty awaiting me. It’s not what I expected, not at all, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

Indianapolis Art Center

I don’t want to stand on this threshold anymore. It served its purpose. Now it’s time to step forward into the beautiful, slightly terrifying, unknown. It’s from the safety of this threshold that I will explore the birth of something new, trusting that She will guide me all along the way.

peace.

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