Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Medium Fast

I'm happy to say that I've moved into the "medium fast" lane at the pool. :) I started swimming in March of this year, on more of a consistent basis, and decided to stay in the slow lane for awhile knowing my tendency to over-do it at first. (You can read that blog called "Restrainable Sustainable".) So yesterday, when I ceremoniously walked past the slow lane and dipped my foot down into the medium lane, there was a great sense of accomplishment. I smiled to myself. Thankfully, there was no one else in the lane so I didn't have to wrestle with the social pressure of trying not to elbow the other guy on my way past. 

Medium is an interesting place to be. It claims that I'm not at the beginning, nor am I at the end. Most of our lives take place in a medium place, a middle place, a growth place. And either we're transitioning from the beginning or we are approaching the end.

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I read a book this past week by Susan S. Philips, "The Cultivated Life" that talked about different spiritual disciplines. She mentioned a story of someone who added a discipline to his life by choosing to meditate on two thoughts every day, death and today-seizing the day. He thought about the end and he focused on today. He was living life in the middle lane. He looked at where he was and where he wanted to be. There is something really steady and attractive about someone who makes peace with living in the tension of that middle place. 

I read an interview about Eugene Peterson and how he decided that he was done writing books. He is getting older and wants to focus on finishing well and has some other ideas. He is choosing where his energy goes. I so admire him. Recognizing our reality and living within it takes courage. 

So what does medium fast mean for me?

Well, in swimming, it means that I have a responsibility to keep moving. It's a privilege to occupy a lane that moves faster than the slow one.  (I mean, maybe it's not that big of a deal . . . but it's how I see it.) It also means progress. If I started swimming in March and it's now, August, that means that in January, I might just be in the fast lane! That's a pretty cool thought. It means I need to keep increasing my skills, learning new things, trying and failing, swallowing water as I breathe every third, or is it fourth? stroke.

And what does medium fast mean for me, in my life?

Well, it means that next week I turn 47 years old. It means that our family life is shifting toward being four adults (and a dog) in the house and learning to share space and respect each other's independence. It means that the future Randy and I are building together gets to continue to bond, to strengthen, to increase in creativity, fun and adventure. It means that ideas for Randy's art career and my varied-collection-of-skills-and-talents-and-gifts get to stretch out and breathe . . . with a new freedom and new space to explore.

It's being attentive to the present, refusing to over-analyze the past, and being open to what the future has. It's realizing that there has been some progress but it's not time to float. I need to use the muscles I have to build stronger ones. To live without fear, to love deeply, to respect others, to trust God by REALLY turning my attention away from worry and back into the present reality and what God is calling me to be about. It means facing challenges and accepting them as appropriate medium lane challenges. Not resisting, not fearing, not wishing for easier . . . but standing up, in faith, in the strength that God gives and saying, "Bring it on, medium lane, toughen me up, make me strong, prepare me for the future! " 

Praying today for you . . . for courage, for strength and endurance!