Dancing the limbo

Dante Hell IV
Image via Wikipedia

When I say limbo, do you have images of parties and that limbo song? I know I do. I also know that I have always stunk at limbo. My body was not the type to bend backward and continue to walk when I was more flexible (much less now). But I had fun holding the bar and watching other people attempt the maneuver.

What is limbo, besides a dance that forces people to try to contort their body? Some definitions of limbo include “a place of waiting,” “an intermediary or transitional place,” or “a state of confinement.” I prefer the idea of it being a transitional place or a transitory phase in life. It’s that time of having outgrown who you were but not yet becoming your next evolution. I think of a caterpillar in a cocoon as a visual metaphor. In religious terms, the season of Advent is a type of limbo: we await the coming of the Savior and prepare for the joy of the birth.

I find myself in that limbo now. I’m in a temporary plateau on my weight loss program. I’m in consideration for many  professional opportunities, but in an overall waiting pattern. In a nutshell, my life is in a state of transition that I find generally uncomfortable because I like to know where I’m going and have some say in the outcome. I feel like I’m struggling against invisible bonds and have an elusive sense that I know how the break them, but the knowledge evaporates like dreams upon wakening.It’s kind of like being in a deep fog that is so common where I live.

What is it that makes limbo so uncomfortable? I keep asking myself why I cannot simply float and allow the transition to run its course. I think of the first Harry Potter movie with the Devil’s Snare plant that could only be escaped if the person stopped fighting against it. Maybe that’s the case here. If I stopped fighting the invisible bonds, would they let me pass? Probably not soon enough for my comfort.

It’s kind of like waiting for Christmas: no amount of rushing around for gifts or wishing for it to arrive will make it come any more quickly. Christmas comes when it does, in its own time. Many years, I’ve found that the more I try to control the experience by planning activities and offering gifts in a specific sequence diminishes the joy of the day. Perhaps it’s the release of control that makes the joy more complete?

The song playing as I write this is “Desert Rose” by Sting. The line that just floated by is “nothing’s as it seems.” I think that’s the essence of spiritual limbo. Nothing is what it seems. The bonds are self-imposed. The waiting will end at the precisely right time and in the best possible way. The light will break through the fog and make everything beautiful again.

So what do you do in the interim? I heard the message during my church service this morning: You prepare yourself for what is to come. You make yourself ready to appreciate the joy that is coming as surely as the dawn. You make your spiritual house “clean” in the way you would for guests: get rid of the garbage like self-doubt, self-sabotage, and fear. Most of all, you prepare yourself to emerge from the limbo as someone more beautiful than you ever imagined possible.

Be patient, my friends, in whatever limbo you find yourself. It will pass and life will be brilliant again.

3 thoughts on “Dancing the limbo

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