To Pause at the Threshold

Reflections on Living on the Border

Esther de Waal

Jul/2004, 112 Pages, PAPERBACK, 4 x 6

ISBN-13: 9780819219893



“A threshold is a sacred thing,” goes the traditional saying of ancient wisdom. In some corners of the earth, in some traditional cultures, and in monastic life, this is still remembered. But in our fast-paced modern world, this wisdom is often lost on us.

It is important for us to remember the significance of the threshold. While it is certainly true that thresholds mark the end of one thing and the beginning of another, they also act as borders—the places in between, the points of transition. These can be physical, such as the geographical borders of a country; others, such as the spiritual border between the inner and outer world—between ourselves and others—are intangible.

In To Pause at the Threshold, Esther de Waal looks at what it is like to live in actual “border country,” the Welsh countryside with its “slower rhythms” and “earth-linked textures,” and explores the importance of opening up and being receptive to one’s surroundings, whatever they may be.

For a recent review by Peter Menkin click here.

Esther de Waal lives in Herefordshire, close to the border between England and Wales, having returned to the countryside where she grew up. She is the author of many books, including Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality and Every Earthly Blessing, both available from Morehouse Publishing.

"In this small but sophisticated book on change, self-discovery, and spiritual longing, de Waal explores the liminal spaces that exist between one stage of life and another, or between geographic places. 'I have become aware of the continual movement of crossing over thresholds into the new, while still, of course, being part of what is left behind,' she writes. De Waal drinks from various wells of wisdom: from her own experiences of living on the border between England and Wales, from authors such as Graham Greene and Dylan Thomas, from the rhythms and traditions of the Celtic year. Spiritual borderlands, she concludes, can be frightening places, fraughts as they are with the prospect of transformation. But they can also be sites where ideas are exchanged more freely, where we become aware of the constant motion of life in the Spirit. Beautifully written, de Waal's brief meditation will appeal to anyone who is waiting expectantly on the threshold of something new." --Publishers Weekly, Religion Bookline, May 18, 2004

" De Waal's book offers us insights into "threshold moments" that can serve as necessary speed bumps on the highway of life, giving us the chance to savor the trip rather than rush on to the destination."-Anglican Book Review, June 2006


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