Sitting here in Williamstown, Massachusetts I am in a very unique place in time and space. I moved here last past weekend and will begin my work at First Congregational in a few days, but for this week I am a bit suspended between my life in Maumee and my life here.
My favorite poem when I was younger was “Halfway Down,” by A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh)
Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
Halfway up the stairs
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
There’s something very exciting about being in between things. There’s a sense of newness, a novelty to being unknown. As in Milne’s poem, when you’re in the in between there’s no real assigned task for this place other than being present and thinking. This independence in space, relationship, and occupation provides for a deep sense of sabbath.
But, as a favorite artist of mine, Brian Andreas puts it in “Outsider,”: “I’m an outsider by choice, she said, but I’m hoping that won’t be my choice forever.”
Right now I’m sitting in the middle of a courtyard on the main street in Williamstown. It’s great people watching, seeing who is walking by and hearing snippets on conversations. Right now, I don’t know a single one of them. But, as my time here passes, I hope that I will gradually get to know people. Later, sitting in this courtyard will likely take on a different feel, occasionally catching the eye of someone I know, stopping to have a conversation.
Last night I volunteered for a special event at MASS MoCA. I decided being a volunteer would be a great way to make connections with people outside of the church. I met a few people and enjoyed being at the event. And as it turned out, one of the very first people I met, is a member of First Congregational. It’s funny how those things work out sometimes!
Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Gilmore Girls, but I’m excited to see how this small town will begin to be more and more familiar to me. I’m looking forward to getting know this town and for it to know me. And in the meantime, I’m enjoying being “halfway.”