At Thresholds

I’m using the word threshold more than I used to.

I used to think of it as a Big Beginning. Starting a new job, say, or a new decade. But I don’t think it’s usage need be so rarified.

Consensus seems to be that the word comes from the Old English meaning “point of entering.”

What if we risked believing that any old point in time is a point where we could enter into something new? Rather than wait for a new day, week, or year to, as the poet Philip Larkin wrote, “begin afresh,” couldn’t any moment be a threshold?

I’ve found this to be comforting late at night after I’ve eaten too much or when I get into a sour, self-pitying mood. Or the times I’ve fumbled or feel listless, indecisive, inept.

It helps move my thinking away from, “I’m stuck here,” towards, “The past is done and gone; who will you become now?”

These thresholds arrive without cymbals or trumpets, but they arrive nonetheless. At 2:30, 10:41, the lull of mid-afternoon, the dead of night.

And it feels to me hopeful and life-giving to look at the ordinary moment as an extraordinary threshold. And decide what we will enter into now.

The Lightning Notes is funded by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I’d be grateful if you’d consider donating. Click to Donate!