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Via Media; life’s milestones lead to change

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

For those parents, who have reached the “driving” milestone in their kids’ lives, the very thought of their being behind the wheel of a 3,000-pound missile chills the very blood. “Why,” they rationalize, “I was just changing their diapers and holding them on my lap. How can this be?”

When the oldsters finally give in to the burgeoning hormones of the resident youth, the dread and anticipation seem to carry a palpable substance. The dread is often associated with the feelings of the parent’s experience at a similar age. It is not easy to forget the breathless emotional and physical freedom from achieving the first license; even for those who now see it in their rear-view mirror and now perceive the oncoming, head-long rush of their progeny’s eagerness, coming towards them at full speed.

Perhaps the parental reluctance is based upon their desire for not having their kids grow up, or too fast, for their liking.

It is a question to be asked, as is the “asker” really mature enough for the responsibility, or do they need to wait a bit? It is a heady responsibility, this parenting thing. Each milestone is measured with nurturing, rules, measured expectations, responsibilities and consequences.  We note, with a smile, the simpler things. Getting out of diapers, dressing, taking the extra wheels off of their bicycles, beginning school, each are precious milestones of growth; both emotionally and physically.

Yet, in spite of our best efforts, they still “mess it up.” They may not make it to the bathroom in time, their clothes selection is bizarre, and not every teacher and subject is liked. Such are the developing personalities and such are the challenges.

What many folks seem to seek is the middle of the road for themselves and their future generations. It is that position of the “Via Media;” the Latin term of being squarely on the path of living well with themselves and others. It calls for a balance in perspectives, attitudes and lifestyles, and it is a narrow path indeed.

It began as a philosophical belief, founded with Aristotle, which has such great resonance for the true Christian today.

So often, we consider, and then react to the strong pull of the forces around us. What we are to seek for ourselves, and for others, is the ongoing concern for Christians who seek the righteous path of Jesus Christ, as He gave it to us.

We, as do the teenagers trembling in eager anticipation of the OK to drive, seek to balance the attitudes and actions of their own selves and seek what permissions to, not only have attained, but also the right to ask.

After careful review, we may discern our own eagerness may result is seeking something which we neither deserve, or is appropriate. Regrettably, we may seek something which is other than what our Creator desires to provide for us. Should this be so, then our re-action is most important; both to us and to God.

When life does not proceed as we desire, or are told to wait, or do not get an answer soon enough, there may be an adolescent reaction to not “getting our way.” It is a part of this world and a part of us. Yet, as our maturity has developed, we begin to understand the necessity of time and place.

Such is not only our earthly life, but also our life with Christ. He too may not give us the answer we seek, or in the time we seek it. However, we have the sure and certain knowledge we shall have all of the answers on that day we are with Him.

In the meantime, we are called to travel the “Via Media,” with Him, in this journey called life.