“Well, I guess it’s time,” he said, his eyes on the road as we approached the light on Route 6 in Factoryville.
“The time for what?” I asked thinking through all of the possibilities: use our Panera card, the one we got as a gift and forgot about, time to change our tires? Not likely. Time to put the snow shovels and boots away? Again, not likely.
“Time to sell the house,” he said Well, I sure did not see that one coming.
“There’s nothing to hold us here now,” he continued. I had to agree with him there. Since our retirement, our kids moving away, and now our involvement with a church 90 minutes away, there was little to anchor us here. Immediately I start thinking about packing and trips to the Salvation Army and wondering what we might have to fix to sell the place.
While I am off in lala land – packing and sorting, he finally adds, “Not right now, of course, but that’s the next step for us.”
I think you could have heard the air hissing from my balloon all the way into Clarks Summit. I didn’t answer him. I couldn’t yet. It takes time to stop planning and packing and get your bearings again. And recognize that I am once more “in the middle.” I had been here many times in our nearly 53 years of marriage. He was in the Army and we were going to be moving to someplace…in the middle until he got his orders and we moved to New Jersey. Going to Penn State or taking the job in Silicon Valley, in the middle till the acceptance letter came from Penn State. Going to the mission field, years of school and support raising, in the middle till we finally got on an airplane. So, yes, I had been here before. But I never liked the middle very much.
So there I sat in the middle again.
“I don’t think we’ll buy right away,” he added out of the blue somewhere between Dalton and Clarks Summit.
I stirred up my courage, “Where do you think we’ll move?” Thinking about nearer one of our kids, Florida where winter is just a bit more appealing and where we have family, but knowing for certain one of the options. We had fallen in love with the people at Windham Summit Bible Church in Bradford County where Jim is interim- pastoring. So maybe somewhere up there. “Up near the church?”
“I don’t know right now,” he said. “But it is the next step, you think so?” he queried looking for my agreement.
As I rehashed the discussion later in the day, and the thing about being in the middle, a variety of thoughts came to me. Probably because we just celebrated Easter, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Now there’s Someone Who lived in the middle. He knew it was coming, all of it. The challenges He would face when He came as a man, a baby really. The challenges of living in a male body. The challenges of working with his fallible followers, then the nightmare of that final week before Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Now that was some kind of a middle. And He did it because He loved us.
But the end, I think of how the knowledge of the end must have sustained Him, a resumption of His place with the Father in heaven, His work in redemption completed. It came to me that I need to get over myself. Even if no one else much hears my whining about how hard it is in the middle, to see the possibilities but have to live through everything necessary to get to the end, the next step. Well, nobody much hears the whining but you dear reader.
Anyway, today I will do some more sorting, with less urgency than I anticipated for a few minutes yesterday morning. And I will work really hard at making the most of this middle place because I can still hear my mother’s words, “It all happens for a reason.”
by Carol Brennan King