A New Way of Marking Time: Before Corona (BC) and After Corona (AC)
We know that life and the world have changed. There will be a new way of marking time. There will be BC – Before Corona, and there will be AC – After Corona.
In the meantime, we are in the middle. In the religious realm, this time is what we call liminal. We are experiencing the “in-between” space from what was and what will be.
An example of a liminal space is the waiting room of a doctor’s office. We have an issue and do not know the diagnosis. How will our lives be changed as a result of the encounter with a physician?
An example of a liminal time is being a graduating senior of high school or college. We know we will soon be moving, but have no idea how we will fill our days, with whom we will be spending our time, or what our living arrangements will look like.
An example of a liminal state of mind is the state we are in just before falling asleep. One cannot pinpoint the exact moment we move from being awake and alert to a differing state of consciousness. How much of that late night television show did we actually see?
We are in Corona’s liminal space and state of mind.
We are in that waiting room – awaiting the next phase of confronting the global pandemic, knowing that arriving to its end will take a long time.
We are hoping to graduate to the next stage of restarting our schools, our jobs, and our economy.
Our minds are somewhere in-between as well — the 24/7 news, the social distancing, the virtual meetings, the Netflix series, the White House press conferences, and Facebook live events all render us unable to fully grasp the reality.
We are in Corona’s liminal space. We don’t know how our lives, our work, our world and we will change, but we know it will. There will be a new normal. At some point, we get used to being in this liminal space, always feeling that we are on the verge of the next phase. We wonder how this extended liminal state will effect us psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
Religion marks the movement through liminal spaces with rituals and rites of passage such as weddings and funerals. The Sabbath marks our weekly time.
Education marks movement through the labeling of elementary, middle and high schools and through the labeling of years – Freshman to Senior year.
Our travelling through the Corona space also has been labeled – diagnosis, social distancing, restarting our lives, eradicating the disease. No dates nor times for moving forward can be firmly set.
The downside of liminality is the uncertainty, anxiety and fear. The upside is the creativity, learning, and growth. May we ride the Corona wave with equanimity, a calmness of our souls, so that we can take in all that this profoundly transformative time has to offer.
[Image by David Kennedy. Thanks to Julie Dalli for her assistance.]