This is my beautiful nearly-six-year-old’s new smile. Gorgeous isn’t it?
I’ll admit though, that when she ran to me yesterday, yelling with excitement that the wobbly front tooth was finally out, I did have a little moment of grieving for that pearly toothed little-girl-smile that I will never see again.
And then, before I knew it I was wondering what her big teeth will be like: Will they come through straight and strong? Will they look too big for a while in her little mouth? Will she still look like my Katie?
I was stuck there for a moment in an emotional whirlwind, caught up between grief what has been lost and worry about what is ahead…
And then… she smiled!
…And I heard God whisper “Gappiness is just so beautiful, isn’t it?”
And it is…
A long long time ago, when I was an architecture student, we spent a month or two talking about liminal spaces: porches; walkways; vestibules; corridors; thresholds; all ‘in-between’ places. We talked about how important it was to help people realise that they are making a transition, to sense that a change is taking place, and to prepare them for space they were about to experience.
I often remember those lectures as I see people around me passing through liminal life-spaces, passing over the threshold between what was and what will be, moving and adjusting from one season to another and travelling the gappiness in between. It helps to recognise the liminal spaces for what they are: temporary places of rest, or refreshment, or preparation. Gaps where God can prepare us for the next season. They will pass. And although they can seem awkward or uncomfortable, they do have a beauty of their own.
Kate showed me this morning that she can just see the tip of the new tooth poking through… before I know it she will have her big-teeth smile… but it will take a while, and for now, I’m going to lean back and enjoy the gappiness.