I was raised Catholic, so I was taught this idea that upon one's death, a soul could spend some time in this in-between place working off the less-than-mortal sins in order to be purified enough to escape hell and enter the gates of heaven. Or at least, that's my vague understanding of Purgatory.
I cannot actually claim to be a particularly good Catholic. In truth, while I was raised Catholic, I wasn't exactly faithful to my, um, faith. I got my soul saved in the Baptist youth group my bestie belonged to; came to love religious tradition and noodle kugel while working for Jewish organizations; gleaned wisdom from a whole host of beautiful people who believe very different things from any number of faith traditions; married a roving Protestant who spent 21 years with me in a non-denominational Pentecostal congregation. About five years ago, we made the difficult decision to leave that church and have been without a faith community since. So I get that it is entirely possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I do know what it is to be in an in-between place, in purgatory. I've been living there in oh-so-many ways.
I'm in-between sickness and health.
I'm not laid out like I was this fall, but I'm not back to my best.
I am somewhere in-between working my way to fully healthy and accepting that this very well could be my best now.
I'm in-between jobs, somewhere in the late-middle of my career.
You know, that place where I'm overqualified for a lot of positions,
too expensive for a lot of others?
I'm in-between generations.
I'm still raising children. I'm still my mother's child. And I see the days ahead where my mother is going to need some mothering-type care herself.
(Accepting it is a whole other discussion that neither of us are in any hurry to have.)
I'm in-between joy and despair.
I am mindful to catch the joyful moments as they rush by, and they are beautiful.
I'm still hopeful for better days to come,
but the pain of continued disappointments is acute.
I'm in-between rage and forgiveness.
I cannot even articulate what that looks like. It's brutal and messy.
I'm in-between a rock and a hard place.