Today we generally think of a threshold as an opening or a doorway. Earlier use of the word referred to a lip of wood or stone that held the threshed grain in its storage place. I recall them from the granary in the barn from my childhood farm. I had to step or stumble across it into the storage space. You could trip over it and have a Humpty Dumpty fall.
In a similar way, we can face many “threshold experiences” in life and struggle to cross over them successfully into a new venture or challenge. This can often happen when we face a transition or crisis in our families. Such was my family’s situation as our ninety-seven-year-old mother fell and broke her hip requiring surgery, rehabilitation and then moving permanently to an assisted living facility. This meant dividing and donating nearly two-thirds of her earthly belongings. My siblings and I had quite a time arguing and debating about who would get the conch shell that had been in the family for several generations. “I played with it most often as a child”, said I. “Yes, but Mom let me take it to bed and listen to the sea sounds so I could get to sleep, so I should have it as it is comforting to me.” Said my sister. “And about that mirror, it fits with the dresser she gave me.“ “Yes, but while in high school I used it to dress and look in the mirror to brush my hair every day so I should have it as you have the dresser.”
And thus the arguments can go and become rather divisive. I am happy to say that the above was fabricated and we had no such disagreements in handling the shell or mirror, but that is not often the case in the distribution of family treasures. When faced with very difficult decisions that affect a loved one and call for a meeting of the minds, there can be conflict and disagreement over important and serious decisions.
This is where Adams County Mediation Services can be of assistance. We provide trained mediators to meet with parties who have disagreements over varied issues that might concern you in the workplace, with neighbors, and even among family members. If the party who is at odds with you will not agree to meet with mediators, we also provide conflict coaching to guide you through the situation.
If you find yourself at such a Threshold and would like to avail yourself of such services, call 717-334-7312 and leave a message for the Mediation Services Intake Coordinator. MSAC will give a call back with more information and schedule an appointment with all parties concerned. Moderate fees, based on a sliding income scale, are charged at the time of mediation. Contact is available online at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.mediateadams.org
Rev. Lynn Cairns is a retired UMC pastor and MSAC board member.
PS The flamingo flock has just arrived from the southland and will be appearing in local neighborhoods. Donations are accepted by MSAC.