Monday, March 30, 2009


This is one of my favorite photos from my trip to Ireland last September. It was taken on my first day there, at an opening in wall I walked through to see religious sites at the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath. I've since enlarged this photo to 16x20 and plan to hang it in my bedroom. It's also symbolic of the word I selected for my life for 2009: threshold.

And since naming this as my word for the year, I see and hear it all the time! Perhaps it first came to me when I read Westminster's Thin Places newsletter for Dec/Jan. There was an article about the threshold of Advent, and the following definition of liminality, from the Latin word for threshold: a time when normal limits to thought, self-understanding and behavior are relaxed - a situation that can lead to new perspectives. A month or so later I was listening to Speaking of Faith podcast of an interview with John O'Donohue, an Irish poet, that I had downloaded right after I returned from Ireland, but hadn't listened to yet. Near the end of the interview he gave this incredible definition of thresholds as they pertain to beauty - the theme of his most recent and last book before his unexpected death in early 2008. He says much about the two - that together they form a place where you move into more critical, worthy and challenging fullness. That prompted me to explore some sites and order a ring with threshold stamped on it, which I now were with a favorite ring I've worn since college.

I've become so aware of thresholds I'm crossing in my life. Joining a new faith community. Rekindling old friendships. Letting go of relationships that aren't fulfilling or reciprocated. Welcoming new experiences and people into my life. And the physical crossing into space. Each time I walk through my home door, either leaving or coming home. Moving inside to work, or outside to cross campus.

And sometimes I'm reminded that the crossing you thought you needed more than anything was maybe just the next logical step for more crossings. Before I went to Ireland, Tammy suggested I select a color from Elizabeth Harper's Colorscope for the month of September. So I did. I selected turquoise, without reading any of the color explanations before choosing the color. Her explanation for turquoise was this: "A new door is opening up connecting you with others on a global level. This inspires exploration beyond your current reality. You are about to see life from a totally different perspective. What you will also discover is that you don't have to go halfway around the world to find like-minded souls. They could be living next door."

Leaving on the trip I knew it would be special to me beyond what I could imagine. Which it was and still is. Last week that became even more apparent when I was having dinner with Leah and Ty before our Thursday discussion at Hennepin. We talked about places we'd like to live if we didn't live here. Mine is the coast of western Ireland, and I shared a bit about my trip. Leah said to me, "Jill, how come I didn't know you went to Ireland?" My response, "because you didn't know me then, Leah." "Really?," she said, "because it seems like we've known you for so long." And there it is. While the trip was lovely beyond words, I discovered that I didn't have to go halfway around the world to find like-minded souls. They're living here, too. Lovely indeed.

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