In the Middle of the Woods

I've never been somebody who has liked middles. Not of any variety, really. I'd read the last pages of books when I first started reading them, just to know what would be coming. I avoided any sort of gray area in friendships with guys, wanting to clearly establish if we were just friends or if we were something more, probably earlier into things than was even close to necessary. I look up movie plots before watching them just so I can be prepared for the plot twists.

I'm not good at middles.

I don't like unknowns. I hate ambiguity. I struggle with a lack of clarity. I'm impatient, impulsive. Waiting? Not my strong suit. Patience? Not a virtue readily associated with my name.

I'm aware of it, so that's a step...right?

Here's the thing though. All of life is the middle. You've probably heard that (somewhat cheesy and cliche) saying about living your dash, the one that talks about making the most of the years between the day you are born and the day you die. 

As much as I desire conclusions and clarity and total confidence in where things stand in my world, I'll be in the thick of the waiting every single day.

There will be desires I'm still longing for. There will be friendships hanging in the balance. There will be people I am slowly losing, and others I'm slowly building something with. There will be fights and heartbreaks and messes that take time to resolve, and even longer to heal from. There will be joys that linger long, victories that buoy my spirits even though I know they won't last forever.

Andrea Lucado wrote a piece for Storyline Blog recently that I resonated so deeply with. In it, she says this:

Some things we lie in wait for take days.

Some things take years. That’s why we have to be where we are. We have to sit in the waiting place is if it is where we are supposed to be, not what we are trying to escape from. We have to recognize that good things are happening to us here, in the middle.

We have to grit our teeth and fight the bitterness.

We have to lean on something bigger and more powerful than our own weak selves and if we can, we will turn around one day and see that during the tension, we were formed into a person with stronger, deeper, more loving, understanding and patient stuff.
— Andrea Lucado

That's where I'm at right now, it seems. I'm thick in the middle of the woods known as Waiting. I'm in the gray area, in the totally hazy zone between black and white and all things sure. I'm in the middle of the path, the starting line far behind me and the finish line still hidden from my forward-seeking sight.

Every day will be a battle against the bitterness. Each situation will be a chance to choose joy in the unknown. I'll have ample opportunities to learn how to be patient and how to persevere. Maybe the day is soon coming when I can sing "Out of the Woods" with Taylor Swift and actually realize I've come out of it, but maybe it's still a long way off.

I'm holding tight to the words in Scripture that tell me God is doing a new thing. I'm finding encouragement from Paul's own struggles to fight the good fight of faith. I'm remembering all of life is a journey, all of these days are the middle. All of them are stretching me, healing me, growing me, teaching me, molding me, and not one leaving me unchanged.

So here I am, in the middle of the woods, realizing we're all in the thick of this life thing and all I can do is hold fast and have faith. Victory is coming, and I'll claim it proudly when it does.

Rachel Dawson