My teenage son teases me. “You’re old,” he laughs. Nope, I’m just older. Older than he is for sure, also older than I was.
But really, I’m in the middle.
Middle age. It almost chokes me to say it.
We’re also in the middle of so much, all of us, but I’ll speak from my place in the world. We’re in the middle of various projects, short- and long-term plans: with our kids, for our home and marriage, for our careers.
We’re almost to the middle of a second sideways-shifted pandemic year, and the middle of my body has expanded uncomfortably in sad proportion to the necessity of comfort-seeking in an uncomfortable time … oops. We also hope we may be approaching the beginning of another transition to a post-pandemic world.
It sure looks like we’re in the middle of so much, yet I wonder how we know it’s the middle while we live it. What if what we think is the middle stretches on and on, and eventually we look back to discover this right now was really the making of a long beginning? That’s still better than the alternative, a premature ending.
I recall the disciples in a boat in the middle of a lake in the middle of a night. Jesus came walking to them on the water and they became frightened. They thought he was a ghost. It occurs to me that perhaps, sometimes, the very best most wonderful thing that could happen to us in a middle, whatever that middle looks like, is also the thing that first scares the wits out of us.
The middle may be messy, but so is life. Messy and marvelous, brutal and beautiful, wonky and wonderful. And it’s good to remember that, even in the middle, even when I’m scared, I am not alone.
We are not alone.