It’s customary in some cultures for a groom to carry his bride across the threshold of their home, taking her into the new life they will share.
Traditionally, Polish families place a cross above the inside front door of their houses hoping everyone who passes through will be blessed by God’s grace.
At funerals, it’s typical for the officiating minister to remind us our deceased loved one has not left us—they have simply crossed the threshold to the other side.
Thresholds symbolize the passing into something new. To do that, we must let go of what’s behind us and step into the mystery of what’s ahead. Thresholds signal change. Thresholds are signs of hope.
High school or college graduation unveils the departure of the academic world and the entry into the marketplace where we hope to earn our daily bread. The birth of our first child marks the threshold into parenthood.
After long years at our jobs, retirement marks the entry into a new season of our lives, possibly through the doorway of what some call an “encore career.” We move from earning our daily bread into following our passions, finally arriving at the doorstep of freedom, so we can use our gifts and talents unhindered to make the world a better place.
Other times, we find ourselves at unplanned thresholds. A sudden illness, the death of a loved one, losing our jobs reminds us we are not in control of the universe. Walking through these doorways can be especially scary, but we don’t travel alone. The Holy Presence invites us to enter this new phase of our lives. Excitement and thrill fills our hearts. Yet there is also fear as we let go of the familiarity of life in exchange for the mystery of change.
Perhaps the best way to hold the tension between letting go and beginning anew is to stop and ponder the evidence of how God has led us in the past. Often when we look into the rearview mirror of our lives, it’s amazing how all the puzzle pieces—the people, events and circumstances—unfolded and fit together in a way we could not have planned. It’s obvious the Creator gently led us, putting together the pieces until we were once again whole and in a new safe place.
I am entering a new phase in my life. After thirty-six years of being a lawyer—something familiar, something I do every day—I am leaving behind life as I’ve known it and crossing a threshold into an encore career writing books and teaching spirituality workshops. I will continue practicing law, but part-time.
Excitement and fear summon me. I hold these two emotions in my hands, allowing them to co-exist.
God comforts me by whispering in my heart, “See how I have been here with you? Always. Even when you were not aware or didn’t wish to pay me any attention, I have held your life in the palm of my loving hand. Take my hand again. Let me walk with you across this threshold. I make all things new and beautiful.”
As you enter this new year, look into your rearview mirror at the thresholds of your life. Can you now see the fingerprints of God who stood with you as you moved into each new season?
Then, look to the present moment of your life. What thresholds are you being invited to cross? What new seasons are you entering? Hold them in your heart. Invite God to walk with you. See how God makes all things new and beautiful as together you cross your thresholds of hope.
—brian j plachta