the confusing space


“the attributes of liminality or of liminal personae (“threshold people”) are necessarily ambiguous, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremonial. as such, their ambiguous and  indeterminate attributes are expressed by a rich variety of symbols in the many societies that ritualize social and cultural transitions. thus, liminality is frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon.”
victor turner the ritual process 

“wherever i am, i must know the people of my parish because my salvation in christ is bound up with theirs. eternal life is not something that i enjoy by myself when life in this world is over. i have been saved for life forever with other people. that life is possible because of jesus. but the apostle paul is clear: the eternal life of christ’s body is a life we share with brothers and sisters who, like us, have been called out of the kingdoms of this world into a new way life (1 Cor 12:12 and following). either we are saved together or we die as dismembered individuals”
emmanual katongole mirror to the church 

“who are these people/…/where do they come from?”
revelation 7:13

it was not particularly early, around 8:45 on a weekday morning,  as we climbed the small hill and i began looking for this Great Wall i had heard about. this Great Wall standing too far north of the border between mexico and the united states of america. i had seen photos of portions of the wall before, and was looking for what i knew from those photographs. not seeing what i was looking for i assumed that we were not yet at the wall, and that perhaps we would pilgrim further down the levee on the path to the wall.
    “it is good to walk
when one is pilgriming” i thought. 
              but we were done with the walking portion of
                                    our pilgriming for that moment.
our guide informed us that we were standing on the levee that served as a portion of The Wall between mexico and the united states of america. while she went on to explain the rules about having to place a wall so many miles north of the actual border my hearing fuzzed out and i was staring at my feet, picturing the map-line beneath them, wondering where i was betwixt and between, what other feet had crossed this space and where they were now. 
legal border or no, you build a wall, or put a wall around a levee and that symbol is going to stand as The Wall if it is the legal boundary or not.
standing there, staring at my feet, wondering about this space between swaths of land separated by thin air and mere circumstance my eyes noted some movement down to the south, in the flats, a little to my left. 
            “why are the karimajong warriors
my eyes draw up to this movement and a few flashes of confusion set in. flashes of confusion that must have been nano-seconds that allowed for hours of footage to play inside of my mind. what my minds eye saw as karimajong warriors loping across the flats of kotido
 district as seen from the top of sliding rock, jaunty hats with feathers, draped in sukas, carrying stools and sticks transformed as if liquid into persons i can only assume to be from mexico dashing from tree line to tree line. 
not the gentle lope of a tall people in northern uganda headed home before sunset, but the furtive dash of those trying to not be seen. these are not the people i first thought they were. 
“we need to go.”
                             one of our guides says,
                                                                    as the other flat ignores the missive. 
i step back,
                                         away from the group  
not because i fear what could happen,
not because i do not want to hear what our friend is saying,

but because sometimes one needs to step back and take some space,
so that
when the tears fall
                                         they can fall into the gravel where her feet once stood.
                                                                                                                                     where other feet have crossed and moved
                                                                                                                                                                                     and searched. 

because sometimes, a levee is not a levee. a wall is not The Wall. 
sometimes a levee becomes a thin space for recognizing the deepest needs of humanity.
and because
a wall stops blocking people from running
                                                                       into your heart.
it can be a confusing place, to be a daily pilgrim seeking perpetual liminality, but there is no place my head nor heart, feet nor hands, would rather be. 



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