Caught in the Middle

“Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense. Deep water faith in the shallow end, and we are caught in the middle” ~Casting Crowns

I stood on the edge of a future fraught with possible landmines, I had no idea if I even wanted to jump, and who would have blamed me for standing still? Believe me, I was the last person to know what I wanted in that moment, in the pause that seemed to stretch into forever with how long I waited it out.

Looking back, I was hoping a decision would be made for me, that things would be packaged up and all I would have to do is put the bow on it. But that’s not how life happens, not often enough anyway. What life does is it waits until we’ve finally made the decision, then it changes our plans, whether we like it or not.

So what was I waiting for?

You could say I was always the one to look before leaping anyway, that I would generally weigh all possible options before wading in, or I wouldn’t wade in at all. I can’t tell you how many opportunities passed me by while I was sitting there waiting to make a decision (or 20).

I’m not sure if it was being careful, meticulous, or just indecisive, but it seemed to work relatively well for me. I made very few mistakes, but I also took very few risks, so what happened to me was predictable, staid… boring. Just like pretty much anyone else, though, I didn’t want a predictable, boring life. I wanted to soar like the birds I often saw outside of my window while I stood waffling over one decision or another.

Sometimes you just have to take that leap.

It was like I was caught in the middle of what I wanted for myself and what I already had. I needed to analyze what I wanted from my life, though, because the middle is no place to be. I was working a dead-end job, cleaning up after people, day in and day out, morning ’til night, the same pattern. I knew what to expect, but I also knew what not to expect — anything better.

I’m sure you’ve been there before, stuck in a pattern that isn’t particularly appealing but at least you know what you’ll get from it. That was me, just after the turn of the century, in Knoxville, Tennessee, knowing I needed more from my life, yet also worried I would make a colossal mistake.

It didn’t help that my even being there in Tennessee was the result of a colossal mistake, so I was a little gun shy. Luckily for me, I had some people in my corner to help me make the decision I realize in hindsight was really the only decision for me to make, at least if I wanted to go somewhere in my life instead of simply standing still.

So I stood on the edge, caught in the middle between then and forever, like I had done several times before in my life, but instead of backing up and biding my time, I dove in with my eyes open. And I’ve never looked back.

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