The Messy Middle

That’s what we are in right now when it comes to the pandemic. If the pandemic is a three-day event, we are definitely in Day 2. That’s the insight shared by Brené Brown in her most recent podcast. She talks about how, in every three-day workshop that she has ever led, the hardest part to get through is Day 2. She says…

 

“By day 2, you’re kind of in this dense fog where you don’t have the shiny possibility of day one or the running toward the finish line of day three. It’s like hitting the wall… if you’re a runner. Day 2 – the middle of anything – is the hardest part. It’s also the part where growth happens. The middle is messy, but it’s also where all the magic happens, all the tension that creates goodness and learning.”

 

There are lots of different ways of understanding this challenging middle period. Pilots call it “the point of no return,” the point in the flight where you have too little fuel to turn around and return to the originating airfield, so you have to go forward.

 

When it comes to the pandemic, we are in Day 2. We are in the messy middle. It’s like riding a roller coaster in the dark. We can’t anticipate the turns and the drops and we have no idea where the roller coaster is going and when it’s going to end.

 

So, how do we navigate the messy middle, Day 2, this rollercoaster we find ourselves on?

 

This is how Brown finishes up the podcast…

 

“No matter what the middle is, experience does not give us easy passage through struggle. Experience only grants us a little grace that whispers, “This is a part of the process. Stay the course. Stay the course.” We’re in Day Two friends, and again, experience doesn’t even give us a little spark of light in this mess right now, it only gives us a little bit of faith that we can navigate it together. Most of the time when we’re in complete darkness, we wave our arms around to reach out and grab someone who can walk with us, to get our bearings, to give us perspective, to hold on to. I think it’s that time. The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens. If we believe in ourselves, if we reach out together, and if we lean into a little bit of that grace that says, “We can get through this.”

 

I would add that this messy middle is the place where God does God’s best work, the place God is mostly like to grab a hold of us and help us find our bearings.

 

How are you currently experiencing the messy middle? Who or what is giving you perspective? What practices are you using to get your bearings? What are you learning in this time? Let us know in the comments below.

 

-Written by Amy Miracle

 

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By |2020-09-08T18:27:01+00:00September 8th, 2020|Blog Posts|7 Comments

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7 Comments

  1. Queen Brooks September 8, 2020 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    It is definitely messy for me. When messy bares down on my mind and I want to scream, Spirit brings to my mind that I’m not alone in this mess. Spirit brings to mind that others, many others are in messier states of being than I. That doesn’t make me feel better or life less messier; It makes me step out of self and into prayer… for others and all the mess God knows they’re going through. Then I go back to my mess and it feels bearable for a
    while longer. I can’t imagine where I’d be without BSPC. It encourages me to
    move, think and hope.

  2. Carol Freeland September 8, 2020 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Yes, the messy middle. I miss my grandchildren’s hugs and zoom calls just don’t satisfy me like they did in day 1. Daytime fantasies of how could I work it out to see them, feel them, hold them reveal how desperate (and dangerous) it is that I would even think of risking it. Holding steady, holding steady. Breath, prayer. Zoom on.

  3. Roberta Winch September 9, 2020 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Yes, for sure in the middle! However, when I felt as if I hit bottom, Spirit incentivized me to dig deeper and crawl out of my cave. I re-evaluated how I spent my time and became really in-tune with what felt right, made me happy and helped me sleep at night. I have become really good at “rolling with it!” I feel lighter today than I did in May. I feel very optimistic and I feel grateful every day.

  4. Alison J Barret September 9, 2020 at 10:59 am - Reply

    If only we KNEW it was just Day Two. Feels like the finish line keeps moving further away, each day. Lots of meditating and breathing. Need to do more walks, experience more art and sit under more trees! And BSPC, just knowing there’s a community there, serves as a touchstone.

    • Libby Wetherholt September 15, 2020 at 11:33 am - Reply

      You’ve put into words my feelings. Whose time are we on? How long is Day 1? Is this Day 2 or are we still on Day 1? (Sigh)

  5. Martha Campbell September 9, 2020 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    In the messy middle of the Pandemic I had to have surgery on my hand. A tendon had ruptured and it needed to be repaired before other tendons were affected. It was my left hand and of course I’m left handed. As a result I was quite restricted in what I could do and the restrictions caused by the Pandemic didn’t seem burdensome to me. I couldn’t easily go anywhere anyway. My husband was very helpful and patient as I whined that I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that. I began to wonder why people felt the restrictions were so burdensome when we voluntarily restrict ourselves for a variety of reasons. If there had been no Pandemic when I had my surgery I would have still been largely confined to home which I gladly did so I could heal. Jesus often withdrew from large crowds to restore and renew himself. Maybe if we could all think of the times when we voluntarily restricted our interaction with the community we could better accept the great need to do that now.

  6. Anne Todt September 9, 2020 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Swimming has always been as spiritual for me as it is physical. So that’s what I’m doing.

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