Summer Reflection #3: In the Middle

It feels like the middle here.

This is where we have to choose, while here in this middle ground.

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Grand Teton National Park

The “middle” can possess some negative connotations: “Don’t get caught in the middle…The middle child…”

It’s like sitting on the fence. Earth feels like that place, that place in the middle, a sort of unique hell in itself, with a million little deaths everyday.

I would be amiss if I did not add there are also a million little joys, which for me include observing the beauty of the world and creation around me, watching the lives of my kids unfold, seeing words in my head find expression on paper and the screen, reading beautiful things others have written, listening to all kinds of music, and seeing beautiful art.

While we are here in the middle, we would do well to remember none of us are immune to the troubles, trials, and responsibilities of this life. It does not matter what sort of person you think you are, what profession you are, what you were yesterday, what label you carry, or what label others have stuck on you.

First of all, you do not have to let the labels stick, if they are negative ones, or even ones that do not fit or apply. Just peel them off and let them fall to the ground. (I know it is easier said than done.)

But also, we are all, human, we are flesh. That means we are not immune to any of the troubles that exist for man. We do live as physical beings in this physical world. We should never think we are above any of troubles or trials that exist for others; tomorrow, that same trial may be waiting for us. We should never assume, “That will never happen to me,” or “I would never do that,” or “…fill in your own blank…”

If you’ve lived long enough, you might already know you can’t depend on those sentences. That thing you thought would never happen to you might have happened to you. That thing you thought you would never do, well, you did.

You might have discovered how much really isn’t up to you.
You might have discovered how much is up to you.
You might have discovered what is in your control and what isn’t.
You might have discovered new things about yourself.
You might have discovered you don’t have as much figured out as you thought you did.
You might have discovered new strengths and weaknesses in yourself.

In this physical world, however, we also possess the spiritual capacity to connect with our Maker; we were created that way. We have something deeper than what is visible in the physical realm. We can connect in a supernatural and spiritual way to the God who made us. If you stop and think about it, it makes sense when we flounder and flutter. If we do not know to Whom we belong, we are continually searching for a place to land.

While living in this middle ground:

You might have discovered new things about God.
You might have discovered new spiritual truths.
You might have discovered a new closeness to God.

Walking in the middle, between birth and death, finding life in the midst of this paradoxical place on earth full of life and death, walking in the middle place between physical life and eternal life… it’s a hard place to walk. A hard place to be. A hard place to live. Being in the middle is where we are, in a number of different unique ways, in our own lives.

Ultimately, we have to come to the place where we are alone with God, and do our own reckoning and questioning and wrestling with God. If we are in the middle ground with God, eventually we’ll have to pick one side or the other.

Walking in this place, though in the middle, is not a place of complacency, boredom, or resignation.

It should be a place of delight, joy, opportunity, life… even in the midst of the struggle.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Can we find the opportunity in the middle of the difficulty? Yes, I quote a non-observant Ashkenazi Jew, who had refugee status, became a resident scholar in the U.S., a U.S. citizen, and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. He did not believe in a personal god, he called himself an agnostic, but he issues a good challenge:

Can we find God or what God wants us to learn in the middle of the difficulty?

 

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