In the Middle

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.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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.

Love is the Remedy

Five Minute Friday prompt: REMEDY

Today I am two weeks post-second COVID vaccination. Which means I should be about as safe as I can be.

The vaccine is a specific remedy to a world-wide problem that has shifted our lives more than we currently recognize. I don’t need to rehash the overwhelm of this past year: we’ve all lived it, experiencing its terrible specifics at different levels. The vaccine helps, sure. I am exceedingly grateful for the vaccine. But the real remedy to what ails us? I’d say it’s love.

Love looks like doing unto others as we’d like them to do unto us.

Greeting people cheerfully. Looking them in the eyes. Letting the smile radiate through our eyes – if we’re masked, that’s all they can see anyway.

Love looks like listening long, deeply, well. Listening with a desire to hear someone’s heart. Asking questions rather than making assumptions. Putting aside agendas. Being willing to admit we don’t know, we don’t have all the answers, maybe we’re wrong. Responding with humility and grace. Praying throughout.

Love looks like seeking out those you haven’t heard from in a while. Offering to help. Showing up with warm homemade cookies. Sending snail mail. Serving others’ needs. Serving sacrificially.

Love looks like sharing abundantly. Giving freely. Spreading joy, singing loudly, dancing exuberantly, belly laughing.

Love looks like being together. Accepting flaws and quirks. Admiring gifts and uniqueness. Love also looks like setting healthy boundaries.

What could someone do to love you well today? Once you’ve got your answer, go do that for someone else.

To quote the famous song, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” Love is the remedy we need.

Dreams Do Come True

I’m setting a timer and participating with the Five Minute Friday crowd. This week’s theme is POSSIBLE. In the story below, you’ll see that achieving your wildest dreams just might be possible…

You want to shout: “Title and Picture do not match!” Bear with me…

My son snapped this shot of an albino baby Rosy Boa taking a giant nibble of his finger on his first day of full-time employment at one of his all-time favorite places: The East Bay Vivarium.

We discovered the Vivarium, the nation’s oldest and largest reptile store, just months after we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. At only seven years old, our son was already a reptile enthusiast. For the 1st grade talent show, he delivered an oral report with a handout to teach his peers about the lizards they were likely to meet in their backyards.

Other kids told jokes like:
“What’s a banana?”

For his eighth and ninth birthdays, he invited a friend for pizza and a visit to the Vivarium to check out their incredible inventory of cool critters. When he was twelve years old, I caved and let him choose his own snake, a Red Tail Boa, now measuring a whopping eight feet. Over several years, he has added seven Ball Pythons to his collection. He’s begun breeding them as well.

This year has been a long and winding road. Like so many of us, my son struggled in various ways and had to put a lot of his life on hold. But ultimately the road led him to this job. While this might be the stuff of my nightmares, he is living his dream. STOP

Cover image of Rosy Boa by gayleenfroese2 from Pixabay