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MIDDLE OF THE ROAD-When our youngest child was first learning how to operate a motorized vehicle he had a tendency to drive very close to and sometimes partly on, the shoulder of the road. Living in a part of the country where the shoulder is very narrow in a lot of instances and in more than a few cases, non-existent altogether, you can imagine that those in the vehicle with him, whom had a few years of driving experience, did not feel like this was a very safe practice to continue to engage in until it might become habit. We encouraged him to start practicing driving a little closer to the center line, in fact to stay right on it, as long as you could clearly see traffic coming in the other direction and only move over a bit when traffic was approaching or when entering a section of road where you could not tell if traffic might be coming from the opposite way, such as on a crest of a hill or sharp curve. We felt this was a much safer option than the one he wanted to employ and as nerve wracking as it is when your children begin to drive (it is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a regular basis) you do everything in your power to make it as safe as possible; for youth has many advantages but unfortunately wisdom, for the most part, is not one of those advantages yet. Now, there are countries in this world which seem to have prioritized safety a bit more than we have in this country and most of their roads have very wide shoulders, in order to minimize risk somewhat, a sound bit of logic that precaution seems to be, to me; but we don't live there, we live here and sometimes you have to just do the best you can with the hand you have been dealt.

Have you ever met someone who described themselves as a “middle of the road” type of person? What does that really even mean anyway? I am sure that the person whom considers their position on most issues to be, “middle of the road” considers that path to be quite open-minded, open to all viewpoints, neither going too far or too, “extreme” in either direction.

It is sort of the first cousin of the position “straddling the fence,” which means not to commit; to have one foot on each side of an issue, not making a firm decision one way or another. That very well might be good place to be when you lack knowledge or experience in a certain area or topic, you really do not want to make decisions when you are completely naive but it is not sound philosophy to just get comfortable there and refuse to move, either forward or backward.

I once heard and I forget where I heard it right now, that the middle of the road is a very good spot to get flattened. Actually if you stand right in the middle and all traffic from both directions stays precisely in their lanes you will not get hit. The problem is sooner or later someone is going to come along who is not precisely in their lane, then -Splat! Have you ever watched a possum or squirrel which happens to be somewhere close to the center of the road when they notice your vehicle approaching. Nine times out of ten they will dart a few feet to the right and to the left, several times, before committing to one direction. I'd surmise that is the biggest reason so many of them meet their demise on the roadway, if they would just quickly go one way or the other, they would have been fine.

The definition of the phrase “middle of the road” means- unadventurous; inoffensive; bland; safe; opting to go neither one way or the other. Being in the middle of the road might be a lot safer than standing still in the lane of traffic going either direction. You won't be safe there forever though, the truth is we are not meant to stand still in life, we are on a journey, going someplace and if the goal is to go someplace, then you have to commit to a direction. If you forever straddle a fence you have served about as much useful function as a scarecrow, doing little harm but not really getting a whole lot accomplished either. You may be a little more familiar with a few other terms we use for synonyms to “middle of the road” some of them are, “centrist,” “moderate” they often use phrases such as “compromise” and “don't rock the boat!” This might be a very good strategy to take if your objective is only to remain safe but taking the road of least resistance, avoiding adversity leads also to accomplishing nothing of greatness or importance. It is the antithesis to having – vision.

There is a verse within a library of books which I peruse from time to time which talks about, “where there is no vision, the people perish but he that keepeth the law is happy” another interpretation says where there is no “revelation” in place of the word-vision, which literally means to reveal and then says; "the people go- unrestrained." To put that in Kentucky type language, that means if the plan has not been revealed to you, then you just “run around like a chicken with its head cut off!” To reveal, to be given insight into how the world should be run, from the one who designed it in the first place, that way you keep things moving. I had a conversation recently with a friend who believed the best course of action was to play it safe but I was of the conviction that playing it safe was a surefire method for going nowhere.

To give a real world example lets turn to education for just a second. To me education is a lot more than just making it affordable for everyone or more than just prioritizing resources, it is about having a vision for the future, a whole new paradigm from beginning to end. Finland had that vision some forty odd years ago and stayed with that vision. They surged ahead of just about everyone and if you include happiness as a benchmark, they are just about as good as it gets. We had no such vision, satisfied with doing things the same way and doubling down on “just need harder workers, and more dedication!" Now we are floundering ,“like a chicken with its head cut off!”

We don't need to be lukewarm, playing it safe, will get us “spit out”. What we need is vision; it is passion. There was one who, “revealed" what the plan God has for this world is. It had a lot to do with empathy and compassion; in taking care of the widow and orphan; feeding the hungry; welcoming the stranger and giving the oppressed dignity. We do not need to stay in the middle of the road, we need to set our path firmly in the direction which was revealed to us.




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