I’m not sure when it happened, just recently I suppose, but I have entered a middle stage of life. The beginning of the middle is what I’d call it.
My marriage is in the middle. 8 years doesn’t qualify us as newlyweds, but we haven’t been married long enough to have much street cred. We’ve been married long enough to know each others’ flaws, but not long enough to have made total peace with them. We’ve been married long enough that when we see googly-eyed engaged couples, we know we were that stupid once. And we also know that we love each other way more now than we did then.
My mothering is in the middle. Yes, I have a newborn, but I also have a 6 1/2 year old. I know enough to know I don’t know much. I know enough to know I can’t take all the credit for their pro’s or all the heat for their con’s. I also know enough to know I have to keep trying. Keep training in the instruction of the Lord. The results aren’t in yet.
My friendships are in the middle. Old friends are far away. The memories of life with them have grown sweeter as time has marched on. New friends have morphed into middle friends. They haven’t yet gained the trust and security of old friends, but the time of discovery about similarities and differences has past. The tipping point has either come or is coming. They will either hang in there and head toward old friend status, or pull up and become peripheral.
The middle is tricky. And I’m quick to think of it as my least favorite part when compared with the beginning and the end. But then I remember The Two Towers.
You know, the part where Frodo and Sam wander and persevere through Mordor. The part where Merry finds his courage. The part where the ents make their final march. The part where Aragorn discovers his strength and leads them to victory at Helms Deep. The part where Arwen keeps the faith for Aragorn, even though they are separated. The part where Legolas and Gimli forge a bond that overcomes prejudice. The part where Pip says, “The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. It’s the last thing he’ll expect.” Yeah. That part. I love that part.
The middle is the best part. It’s where the action happens. It’s the part that you look back on later and relish.
Or, as my parents tell me, “These are the good old days.”
So, here’s to “the building years.” Call it what you will, I say, saddle up. Time to enjoy the middle.