Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Living In The Middle

Today I said goodbye to a friend.

It was an unexpected goodbye - as most are - and such a loss for everyone who knew him. Mark Robertson-Baker was an amazing and wonderful friend. Heaven is a better place now that it has a guy as great as MRB living there.

His memorial service was one of the most beautiful I have ever attended. Various friends and family members eulogized him, and shared memories of his antics. They made me laugh because I experienced some of the same moments with him, and they made me cry because I won't get to do that again. One of the speakers said something that really gave me pause. He said, "Mark was one of those people who didn't live in the middle." (Or something close to that.) He then explained that people who don't live in the middle live in the extremes of one edge or the other.

As I apply that thought to my life, I realize that there are areas of my life that I definitely live in the middle, and there are others where I insist on standing on the edge. I'll tell you some of mine, and then I'll challenge you to think about your own because I think it's worth stopping and considering.

If you know me, then you know I'm a "do-er".  I get things done. I try to make things happen. And I usually move forward with confidence (even when I don't feel it) when I'm busy "doing".  It's one of my extremes. I'd rather do than think. And sometimes that's a great trait to have. But sometimes it's just pushy. haha! I know that - and I really do try to temper it with humor, wit and overall charm. Doesn't always work...but I try. I sit on that edge and almost never even look the other direction. I just dangle my feet of that edge and wait for the next thing I can "do."

Based on that aspect of my personality, I guess you'd assume that I live by faith in the same way. That my walk with God would be the same extreme and I'd always be "doing" something with/for God. But I'm afraid I've become a classic case of the "lukewarm" Christian that Francis Chan talks about in his book "Crazy Love." I can give lip service to stepping out and doing something big for God, but it's been a long time since I've really done it. I've been too busy living in the middle to even realize it. So along with my "no" issue, I'm going to try to move that needle a little farther in the direction of action. I want God to pull me out of the middle! No more laying down in the middle and pretending I don't hear Him calling me. I need to walk closer to that edge and make a difference.

Another edgy part of me is my fierce loyalty and love for my friends and family. If you are in - you are in. But under no circumstance am I ever sitting in the middle when it come to my loved ones. No one hurts my children, my family or my true blue friends. And I don't apologize for it. Hurt one of them, or take advantage of one of them, and you'll see for yourself. Forget dangling my feet off that edge. I often want to jump off the end!

And while I'm fiercely protective of those I love, I don't think I'm as hung up on myself. I definitely live in the middle on the "me" stuff. I don't take myself too seriously nor do I find myself too amusing. I don't think I'm too ugly or feel that I'm too pretty. I think I'm just a middle of the road kinda girl. And, in this case, I'm ok with that! Like I said before. I just am who I am. :) You'll never see me try to be something that I'm not.

Lastly, I used to be a much bigger risk taker. I lived more on the edge about things than I do now. A lot of that has to do with motherhood, I think. So any 'risks' I might take are usually more of a spontaneous roadtrip kind rather than a "let's go skydive" kind. Nothing good or bad about that. I just think it's a middle point for me. And if I've learned anything from the various people around me who have experienced tragedy and loss lately, I know that it's time to get a bit riskier. Life is too short to sit in the middle. (But don't look for me on the edge for Heaven's sake!)

I know that guy was right about Mark. He did live in the extremes. And I loved him for it.

In fact, one of my favorite quotes from him on Facebook was when he read about Billy. He said to me, "Just when I thought I couldn't love you more - you go and do something like this. Hooray for you, Kerry, Billy and the girls. Just exceptional."   I knew he meant every single word - because he WAS the guy that didn't live in the middle.  And if loving people the way he loved people is an extreme that I can live too, you can bet your booty I'm going to try.

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