I once overheard a word from a colleague that she unintentionally coined. The words of meantime and interim were beautifully wound together to create “meantrim”. Someone else pointed out that meantrim is in fact not a real word. I loved hearing it though. I like thinking of this invented term, because it casts a beautiful shadow on what we often neglect. I would define meantrim as that space of time where there’s lack of clarity and messiness instead. It’s the spot which you would like to fast forward at times. The word runs parallel with experience, which is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
The meantrim is vital to pave a way forward. We all spend most of our time in the meantrim. It takes time to get out of it and reach an apex of our growth and understanding. Yet even when we reach the apex, we generally go back down (ready or not) to reach another apex.
We applaud a person who has come though the messes of say, alcohol abuse or mental health issues or anger. We love hearing stories of someone who has developed and come out of these stages into a space of valuable change. Yet when people are in the meantrim, when addiction strikes, delusions are apparent or someone lashes out, this is often met with fear and caution. Rather than applauding these people, disdain abounds.
However if we treated people with respect and dignity wherever they are at, this could lead to a greater appreciation of life. We wouldn’t be judging the person based on what they have done, instead we would love them for their being. In a previous article I talked about the danger of judging a person by their outer appearance (titled, Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover Girl). However this is also true of judging people based on their inside appearance.
The problem with judging people on their inside appearance, is just that, it is an appearance. As a third party, we don’t know the full story of what is going on for them. Sometimes people can understand, which is why they empathetically say “hurt people hurt people”. But I think overall if someone is in their meantrim stage of developing some emotional or spiritual muscle in their life, it is often met with misunderstanding, stigma or fear.
It seems to me, that once an individual has come out the other side of the meantrim, they are only then recognised as being a valuable member of society. Until then these individuals are often met with fake support and superiority. I wonder why this is? Is it because people are scared of others in their meantrim, not knowing what they are capable of doing? Is it because if an individual is doing something morally wrong, then they need to be cast out? Is it because people want to associate with success rather than apparent failure and neediness? It could be a lot of things.
I just think it’s sad that while we all have the capacity to love and grow, in our minds we kick people to the ground and elevate ourselves, believing that there is some sort of ranking system. A person seems more valuable if they are busy. A person seems more valuable based on their title. A person seems more valuable if they are charitable. A person seems more valuable by what… (insert anything that they do).
The antidote to this behaviour of labelling people into categories, is to realise that being in the meantrim is okay. Difference is okay. Sure it looks like some have a longer way to go in their maturity and growth and sometimes it seems they are not moving forward in their meantrim circumstance. The path to reconciling our minds into a growth mindset is recognising that each person is a human being. We are not human doings. If we were human doings, it would be fair to judge each other on what we do. Being beings, the person is alive. They hold a valuable life and must be treated that way.
We are all capable of growing through the meantrim. Each person’s meantrim is different and individual to them. One person’s meantrim involves years of heartache, with a possible resulting melody of colour and seeing the world anew. Others might have a new meantrim that they work through each day. We often perceive where people are (emotionally, mentally, spiritually), at the point we interact with them. Yet our day of interaction is not the end day. It is not the end of the story. It’s just the meantrim. Let us sit beside each person, whatever chapter they may be in. The meantrim in its glorious way will not last forever. What will last is love.
Let’s stop criticising of people where they are at. Let’s love them in their meantrim. At the very least it will help us in ours. And at the most, there are endless possibilities. I aspire for change, growth and development. All these things don’t happen by themselves. They need a meantrim and a love for the human being. Instead of exposing others’ shame, let’s be in a place of respect and appreciation. There is purpose in the meantrim and while it’s not a real word, there still is meaning.
Elizabeth is a Mum to Grace, step-mum to Will, wife to Ricky. She is very changeable. Sometimes she'll identify herself as a social worker, other times as a writer or even as a Christian. She loves her town of Dubbo, New South Wales. Elizabeth studied a Bachelor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University.