by Michelle Armster

Lent is learning to live in liminal space. The space that is not quite desert and not quite forest. Not quite wilderness and not quite the land of promise. It is that space where your feet are firm, yet the ground is unsettled.

Recently, living in this space gifted me with new challenges/opportunities/awareness. The first is that not everyone in the space with you will experience it like you. Not only will your experience be different, your challenges/opportunities/awareness are yours to examine.

Thar_desertSecondly, even if you share the same language – you may understand it differently – quite differently.

Third, the ones you start on the journey with may not be with you at the end. You and they change.

Last, liminal space can be holy ground.

For Lent, I decided to “give up” Facebook. Although I miss it, I am enjoying this respite. I had to give it up. Since the state sanctioned murder of Michael Brown, I found myself angry, grieved and fearful as more names were quickly added to the list – Renisha McBride, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Shantel Davis. And as the silence of white supposed-allies grew more deafening and/or as they tried to explain, justify and support the state sanctioned murder of American citizens of African descent, it was apparent that we may share the same language, but understand justice differently. Quite differently.

As I continue this Lenten journey, I am reminded that as a woman of African descent living in America, living liminally is my space. Or, to say it another way, diaspora is home.

And I will keep it holy.


Michelle Armster is a Roots of Justice trainer and the executive director of Mennonite Central Committee Central States.

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