the messy middle

 With a move on the horizon that will uproot our family and replant us thousands of miles from our community and family, I spend most of my moments in one of two camps.

In some of these moments I like to pretend that we aren’t actually leaving. I con myself into thinking that I won’t have to say goodbye to the long list of people and places and rhythms that I dearly love from this chapter of our life.  When conversation with friends ventures into the reality of what life will look like when we are not living in Chicago anymore, I jump at the opportunity to shut the conversation down, change the subject or outright say, “We aren’t talking about that right now.”  I push plans and tasks that will need to be done to prepare us to move to the bottom of my to-do list.  Because if those tasks don’t get done, we will never actually have to move. That is how that works, right?

On the other hand, there are moments when I find myself trying to stretch far out into the future and just be at the place where our life in Quito begins again.  I feel myself pulling away from community and hesitating to invest in the people and places that are so important to me in hopes that it will make the good-byes that much easier.  I catch myself trying to pretend not to care as much. I  wonder if there is actually any point in meeting that new parent at school or new family at church since we won’t be around to carry on any kind of relationship anyway.

However, as appealing as these two camps can seem at times, I know deep down this is not where the best living will come from during these months.  I know that Christ is calling me to a third way; a way that embraces both the here and now and prepares our family for what is to come. I think there is a level of fear of that third way for me at times. The living in that space is not easy or comfortable.  It can be confusing and full of conflicting emotions.  But it is real. It is real and there is beauty seen and there are experiences to be had in the tension that can not be found from one side or the other.  In places where I feel like my options are only to choose this or that, black or white, now or then, I find Christ calling me to simply choose him.  And in that choice is often where that third way is actually found.

So these days I’m trying.  I’m trying to live into this space where I continue to invest deeply and connect in real ways to my present community and also prepare well for what is to come.  I want to try and live well in the hard and beautiful and messy middle.

It is, after all, what we are called to. We are called to proclaim God’s Kingdom.  A real and beautiful and upside down Kingdom.  A Kingdom that is already here and is also yet to come.  And it is often in choosing to live with one foot in both of these places that we come face to face with Christ and a third way is made known.

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  1. Diane

    I will be praying for you in the middle. We lived in the messy middle a little over a year ago…….and my prayer for our family was that we would find joy in the journey. I am praying that for you as well. To journey with Jesus is never easy but always a blessing. I pray you find joy in your journey as a family !!

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