Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crossing a Threshold, A Post by Nancy L. Agneberg

It's Sunday morning, the first morning of the new "spring forward" time, and a house showing was scheduled for 9:15 a.m. I am never thrilled with a Sunday morning showing, but this one on a foggy, wet, and cold morning was even more of a stretch. I reassured myself, however,  as we walked back into the house at 10:20, that at least now we have a whole uninterrupted day ahead of us. A lazy Sunday is still possible. 
     At the same time I thought about the potential buyers who had crossed our threshold that morning. I am always curious about the story. Who are they? Where are they from? Why are they looking for a house now and what are their hopes and dreams for their new home? Do those hopes and dreams consist of more than granite counter tops in the kitchen and an open concept floor plan? Instead, do they think about how they can grow in a house and how a house will shelter them in good times and bad? Do they imagine gatherings in the dining room and where they will put the Christmas tree or the menorah? Do they envision themselves becoming older and wiser in this house? 
     We have welcomed over 50 different sets of buyers and realtors to our home since putting it on the market last May. Out of those 50 a number of them have expressed interest, although, much to our disappointment and I admit, surprise, there have been no offers, and of course, I wonder about their situations. What needs to happen in their lives in order for them to move forward? When their next step happens will we also be able to move forward? 
     I wonder as the door opens to our home and potential buyers step over the threshold if they realize they are taking a sacred step. Anthony Lawlor in his book, A Home for the Soul: A Guide for Dwelling with Spirit and Imagination, writes, "The Threshold marks the boundary of transition, the line which must be crossed to enter new realms of experience." Sarah Ban Breathnach in Moving On reminds me that the French use an expression, le foyer, which refers both to the entry space surrounding the door where one enters a home, but also the pleasures of the "hearth," an invitation to come in, relax and feel at home. 
     Recently, as I crossed the back threshold into our home --screened porch to my office-- after a showing, I was overwhelmed by an almost melancholy feeling. I felt the light touch of a veil separating me from my life in this house; a momentary view of this house where I live becoming someone else's house, a house where I once lived. I experienced a brief, but real moment of separation anxiety. This is what we are wishing for, right? Are we doing the right thing? I imagined the fleeting fear or doubt of a bride who has said "yes," and is standing at the threshold, the long aisle in front of her. 
     The feeling only lasted a moment, but was real, nonetheless. I felt my cheeks flush. I even felt slightly faint. Am I ready for this next step? This next sacred step. The unknown new and next threshold in my own life. Yes! 
     I have started working on a writing project that centers on the topic of moving, something I have done many times in my life, and here I am preparing to move yet again. As I explore this topic in my life, I realize what I am really writing about is transitions. Transitions as rites of passage, as "sacred right-of ways," as Breathnach says. What transitions are front and center in your life right now? In what ways are you ready, but are there also moments when you feel the need for more preparation, a pause? What spiritual practices support you as you cross a threshold? 
     I have no idea what this morning's guests to our home felt as they crossed the threshold and walked from room to room. I hope they felt a welcoming spirit, even if this is not the right home for their future. I wish them well, and I hope they left us good wishes for the transition we are hoping to make in our own lives.   

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