In the Middle
It is in me, and perhaps many of us, to secure myself on one side of a clearly drawn line. There is comfort in nestling deep in the fortresses of established thought and creeds, ideals and deeds. And yet. I most often find myself in the middle, balancing between what comes natural and what is best (not always, or even usually, one and the same).
It happens as it happened this morning. A little neighbor friend is over and suddenly there is a posse of three girls who do not want a boy in their midst. He comes to me, the one who is sometimes secretly my favorite but only because I understand him so well. He is me, except male and twenty nine years younger. His slumped shoulders declare dejection, and my heart can feel it. "They hurt my heart, mom"...and that was all it took for me to instinctively march my maternal behind out into the feminine fray and butt into their exclusive play (I did not try to rhyme there. Honest). As I am mid-sentence in a lecture on inclusion, I stop. I realize that while it might be instinctive to make his world happier, it is rather unfair to continue this illusion that life is fair, when indeed it is not. And so I move from my instinctive position of protection, to one of promoter of learning how to cope with real life, which includes (in this case) miniscule levels of rejection. Even from those you love. The girls were not forced to include him (encouraged, but not forced). When they hung their 'girls-only' sign, I hugged and loved on and gently told my red-headed boy that this is the way it is sometimes.
It happens as I think of the deep needs of my community. It is instinctive to do big things, sign up for as many community initiatives and make myself available to do as much as I can for as many as I can. There is a time and season to do all this, and even then, it will not be worth much if it is not fueled by Love and a direct nudge from the Creator Himself. I have been pulling myself back, from the extreme edges of my personality that propel me to jump in head first and lead, reminding myself that strong communities are built with strong families. And mine is still quite young and needy. The majority of my time needs to be directed in the strengthening of my family. Giving more to my community at the expense of my family would be akin to running the air conditioners in a hot house with all the windows open. Are there small ways in which I, along with my children, can learn to live our lives loving those GOD brings into our path? Absolutely. He shows us these ways to be supportive members of our neighborhood as we wake up every morning and ask Him with expectation "OK, Lord...who do YOU want us to love on today?". There is a balance in this season of life. I cannot do much, but that does not mean I should do nothing. It is waiting for that daily, Divine nudge, following through and letting go of the need to do BIG things. I think rippling effects will be best viewed on the other side of Heaven, and we'll probably laugh at what we thought was big here, and marvel at the intricate hugeness of we once thought "small".
It happens as I think of this blog and as I think of the thousands of others like it who share thoughts, opinions and musings that are meant to either amuse or persuade. On here I pour out our personal lives to any and every one. Every day of the past few weeks I have seriously considered shutting it down. Perhaps to start over, and perhaps to not to. I feel that I should either invest in the growth of it, or let it die gracefully instead of letting it drift somewhere in the middle, filled with mediocre posts that are published in a hurry before nap time is over. I do not write any of this to generate response. I write because I am in the middle of this too. Words are powerful, and most times I barely have the time to fully complete a thought in my head, nevertheless, on a post. Even though my followers are not many (but appreciated!), I still have a responsibility to handle the written word with wisdom. I love to write, but I want to write well.
It happens as I hear friends speak of their children's education. I want to say I firmly agree with every choice I hear of, including our own. The truth is, our decision for next year might not be the same for the next. We are not in one camp. There are various aspects my heart rings a bell with in the stories of others who are confident of their schooling choice. While we have carefully considered our options, and feel fine with the upcoming school year, I would not say I am eager to flail myself on it's bandwagon. Again, in the middle.
I am learning, be it ever so slowly, that much of life is found in the middle.
Instead of the instinctive desire to look to either the right or the left,
it is imperative I first look within. That invisible place where the God who made me, loves me, delights in me and has customized plans for every detail of my life, has amazingly chosen to dwell. My heart is His command center. It is where He gives the nudge to cross paths with another, illuminates my junk that needs to be drug to the curb and keeps me grounded when I find myself wanting to forsake the middle and find comfort in the company/approval of those on one side or the other.
Thanks be to God, who is my Fortress in the middle,
for it is only You who matters
and to who I answer to.