The in between.
The already but not yet.
The constantly but not quite.
That’s where I am. I’m there about my writing. I already call myself a writer, which was hard-won and already feels like a victory of sorts — at least a victory over myself. But I’m not yet published in book form. I’ve got a blog that I’m proud of, that I know has started some conversations, that has moved some of the people who’ve read it and even spurred them to action of one kind or another, yet I don’t have the audience I want (and need if I’m to publish). I’m querying agents and submitting to the lone publisher in my genre who takes unsolicited manuscripts, but I haven’t gotten that “yes.” I’m in a constant state of sudden death overtime in hockey: I’m working, working, working, dreaming, praying, learning, striving, striving, striving, but I haven’t scored. Yet.
At the same time, once I get that initial “yes,” the benchmark will change. I will be published in book form (or possibly in app form), but then there’s the platform/networking, there’s the next book, there’s the…. There will always be something else.
I have friends who are in even deeper in the in between / already but not yet / constantly but not quite. Friends who know something physically is wrong, and know how bad it could be, but they don’t yet know for sure, so they’re thinking about it constantly, or they’re coming close to thinking about it constantly, but they can’t stand to go there all the way in their minds so they make glancing passes at thinking and praying about it — a thousand times a day.
My kids are always in an in between / already but not yet / constantly but not quite state. I’ve got one tween and one young teen and they’re always aware of the tension between what they can do and what they can’t yet do. We’re giving them both freedoms and responsibilities they haven’t had before, yet there’s always more freedom to strive for (they’re very average kids in that they’re not exactly striving for additional responsibilities).
We’re all, in some way, in between / already but not yet / constantly but not quite. Always. Sometimes it’ll be dramatic, like waiting for news from the doctor, waiting for chemo to start, waiting for chemo to be done. Sometimes it’ll be chronic, like in the stage of recovery from surgery when you look fine but can’t lift more than 20 pounds, like growing up, like trying to get published, like being a more patient parent, a more faithful servant of God, like running farther than you ever have before but not being ready for that marathon, like striving for change in any part of your life.
In between. Already but not yet. Constantly but not quite.
This is tension.
The characters I write should always hold this tension in themselves, because each of them is in the middle of something that is already but not yet — all the time.
I have no wise words for how to hold this tension in ourselves other than to expect it, to look for it in others so it can become a connecting node, to confess it and not wallow in it in private, to figure out how to be grateful, to praise God even in the middle of it, because we’re all always in between / already but not yet / constantly but not quite.
*This is another of my participations in Five Minute Fridays (even though it’s Saturday).