In the early stages of planning for MAC 2020, the phrase, “The Interim Time” has surfaced recurrently. We on the MAC planning team anticipate that this notion will be incorporated on some level into the Conference in June of 2020. Similar phrases to name that phenomenon are: the middle time, the in-between time and, simply, chaos – probably because at least a bit of disorder is inevitable when the world is undergoing a major transition; and, before order is restored.
In his poem, For the Interim Time (full version follows below) the Irish poet John O’Donohue wrote:
The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.
Essentially, it is a time when the prevailing paradigm is dying off and a new one is being born. Even if we cannot fully understand it, we are seeing evidence of it all around us… in our understanding of global relationships, of Church, of government, of quantum science, of social consciousness, even of God. It has and will continue to impact so many areas of our individual lives as well as the on-going development of the Affiliate Movement. For sure, living in this interim time can make for anxious moments. Thankfully, in the last three lines of the poem, O’Donohue assures us of a hopeful outcome if we remain faithful.
“For the Interim Time”
When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk, Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, 2008