I had to remind myself of a few things this morning:
Even a run-walk is better than no run. You don’t need the right workout clothes to work out. Your kids are not the boss of your feelings. God loves you because of who you are not what you do. The forties are the love story of life in the middle — in the middle of kids, faith, doubt, marriage, failure, wonder, and the muffin top. And these are all good things.
I took the two youngest kids to the bus stop for their last day of school (finally!) while dressed in leggings and my favorite t-shirt that says, “I’m just a sweatpants girl living in a skinny jeans world.” They tried to teach me that dance move called “flossing.” It did not go well. But it’s fun and also funny to try to get my hips and arms to move in opposite directions. I’m sure the bus driver finds it just as amusing when she pulls up. My kids board the bus with all my hopes and amazement stuffed into their backpacks, alongside the end of year notes and the Chapstick they take everywhere.
I’m the mom on the corner waving and flossing to their embarrassed delight as the bus rumbles out of view. Then I put in my earbuds and start my morning walk. I drive this road every day, infinity times a day it seems, but somehow walking it slows me down and helps me see better.
There’s the half-pipe the neighbors tried to build and that now they’re dismantling for reasons I don’t know, but I’ve enjoyed watching the story unfold out there on the side of the road. There’s the new development and the new houses that I didn’t know two years ago would be home to new friends who have sat around my table and sipped my tea and told me about what it’s like to track the trajectory of a satellite or a friendship.
I walk and feel the weight of my body that no scale could properly measure. It reminds me of the Bible verse my mother lived and also died by:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
I’m learning to see because I can feel it — how these days and roads and stories and moments are weighed down with the kind of ordinary wonder that will take your breath away more than a good run, more than that raise or praise or all those accolades.
If we only have eyes to see, we might be stunned at all this crazy, unexpected, underserved treasure that we’ve been given by a generous Father God. As my friend Elise reminds me over and over again, this — this — is wealth.
This is the place where we have grown into the shape of our souls even as we might have outgrown the shape of our teenage jeans.
I’ve come to believe that the secret to a life well lived in the middle isn’t about trying to seize the day. It’s about being sure you actually see each day — even if just out of the corner of one eye. Because the middle is worth remembering while you are actually living it because you won’t pass by this way again.
You are living at the very center of what will be your story right now. Let’s stop long enough to celebrate the treasure God has buried for you in plain sight. Because trust me when I tell you, the middle is worth seeing.
These are the days of miracle and wonder.
These are the stories that will line our empty nests one day. We are living the memories that will be passed down to the ones who are still living their beginnings.
Sister, what if the middle is the gift you didn’t know you were right in the middle of?
Maybe we don’t want to hide it, ignore it, or miss it. Maybe, just maybe, the middle is the part where it really starts to get good.
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