A Tough Thing – Seeing Beyond the “Middle”

From the desk of Tammy Hayes, Middle School Principal:

When I think about the beginning of most any adventure, I think about the anticipation and the wondering of what something will be. It has promise. Even if I have heard negative things about it, my hopeful heart kicks in without much prodding and I am fully alive with the enthusiasm of what may come.

When I think about the ending of something, I feel the sense of accomplishment and have the benefit of seeing the rearview. It is rewarding to have done well even if only to survive a tough thing and not given up- it’s alive to tell the story and frame it against the hope and wonder with which it all began.

But what’s “in the middle” is the real challenge and there lies words like endure, struggle, doubt, difficulty, angst, fear, sorrow, sacrifice, persevere, wait, and “no”- none of which shine or glitter or illuminate the soul. They just are and it’s beyond painful to live there day after day in the middle of something that awaits more glorious descriptors and begs questions like, “Will I make it? Will I have what it takes? Will I fail?” The true grit is in the middle, in the actual doing of a thing. Not merely in thinking it up or even in the completion of it. It’s prize is what takes place in the middle of it all and what strength is forged on the soul because of having gone through it.

I try to remember this every day when I see 6-8th graders in the middle of it all- grappling with their identity against the backdrop of puberty’s interrupters and parental controls bouncing off of one another like bumper cars-and love is THE only thing that I see that brings a balance and puts a flashlight in the eye of it and welcomes them to another day. Loving them like crazy and refusing to judge them where they are in the moment but helping them to picture themselves on the other side of it having done well, having survived a tough thing and not given up, accomplished and fully alive to tell their story to another about to enter the middle. It’s the reward- having the story to tell of the journey.

But, what if I make a way out for them, or rescue them from it or alter the rules of it for them to make it easier, or lessen its sting in any way than what it is designed to be? What Have I done for them? I have only robbed them of the prize and the privilege of having the story to tell, the scars to show the proof, and their hero’s heart is diminished and insecure and doubtful that he or she really even accomplished much at all.

And that would be a shame having had to go through it but robbed of the glory of it on the other side and even worse not the better for it still lacking character, and tenacity and confidence- all of the things that set them on the path to begin with in hopes of becoming what was intended. I believe this is our story parallel to Christ’s story of having to be crucified that we might live. And what a mess we would all be in had somehow Mary figured out a detour for her baby boy and altered the story even one bit.Romans 5:1-5

To learn more about Tammy Hayes and The Brook Hill School, visit us on the web at www.brookhill.org