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I have found myself in the middle, a very new place to be.

Middle age is upon us.

I help lead people and I am led, which means I am middle management.

We are middle-childhood parents. (Myla is our bonus baby who lives with Olivia at our house…which makes us surrogate grandparents…more middle.)

And I am finding the middle a very nice place to be.

Middle means that there are roads that are far behind me, with plenty of road still ahead.

Middle is where I’ve learned that life is not always what it seems. Middle is where I’ve embraced that hardship leads to character. Middle is where I’ve found that it’s OK to not have answers, that sometimes a hug and hot cup of tea are the best wisdom I can give.

Middle is where laughter is a priority. Middle is where determination is more important than speed. Middle is where I’ve discovered that it better be about the journey and not the destination, because the destination is a moving target and the journey is where I spend most of my time anyway.

Middle is where I’ve discovered that your voice is your treasure. Middle is where I’ve learned that who you can no longer pretend to be is often a clue to who you are becoming. Middle is long, and mundane, and loving who you are (and who you aren’t) makes the long middle road much more enjoyable.

Middle is ordinary. Middle is intense. And the moment between ordinary and intense is only a diagnosis, a phone call, an injury away. Ordinary times are often prep for the intense–the responsibility, the right words, the moments where comfort, correction and care are needed.

The world needs those of us who are in the middle, those of us who are not yet living to our fullest potential, those of us with full days of parenting, working, doing. The world needs those who have discovered that their hope lies far down the road, far ahead where the sun is setting in our bodies and a dawn is rising in our souls. The people around you need to peer into your life and see that you’ve fixed your eyes on what is unseen, what is hoped for, what is still to come.

Because for many, the middle feels like a dead end, and our souls crumble at dead ends. Those stuck in the middle begin to pine for what was before, re-create it in their minds, wishing to go back, perhaps re-living a youth that wasn’t so great to begin with. Because if we have no hope for eternity, all we can do is replay the best bits of what we fantasize we missed in the past. There is no hope in that.

So press on, my friends in the middle. Press on with hope for the unseen and the eternal. Press on for the generation to come and the generation beyond that. Rest and receive the joy, peace and hope that are ours today–the eternal gifts that whisper of heaven beyond this bend in the road.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18