Go Ahead, Eat the Middle First
Why do we save the best for last?
Oh, I know. It builds tension for the big finish. It gets the audience warmed up so they can really appreciate our magic when they see it. We set them up so we can knock them out with one punch. They’re puddy in our hands. It’s about control, and we like it.
This may be true of audiences and mystery novels, but personally it’s not working for me. I mean, take eating one of those swirled sticky buns. You know, like they have at Cinnabon, that are truly (with apologies to God here but using this in the vernacular) sinful. What is the best part? Everyone knows it’s the center. Warm, juicy, sweet, buttery goo. Yep – why don’t we eat the middle first.
Okay. Kids already get this: a kid’ll eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the…
But the rest of us, the grownups, don’t we eat this in order? Starting politely from the outside, saving the “best part for last”? When we get there, are we really hungry for the bun any more? We eat it because it’s the best part and we don’t want to waste it. But what if we had started with the middle, then worked our way out …to the crunchy, hard, not so soft, not so buttery, not so gooey outside? I’ll bet we could lay that aside and skip a few calories, eh?
I’m going to take the sticky bun analogy one step further because I’m guilty of this with the rest of my spending, and not just calories. Take writing, for instance. How often I have thought, I should write that “one great story” that I have in me. But I hold off, because there’s just one, so I am saving it for last, the place we hold for the best – the finale.
But I don’t limit my withholding just to writing. I went to do a demo training with a group of coaches the other day and not many showed up. I was assured they always ran late, so we waited and time got short. The lesson plan I had went down the tubes. Finally, they began showing up. Then a youth team came over to help demo. Now I had a good group, but what would I do with them in the 15 minutes we now had? I skipped the intro stuff and cut straight to my best drills, of course. We had a great time, laughing, playing, doing soccer things. The coordinator stopped us and said, “We need to stop so there’s time to scrimmage.” And then the kicker, “unless you have a big finale.”
Nope. I didn’t. I started with the middle of the cinnamon roll. Gave them the best of what I brought, right up front, so they would have it to take home with them. Oddly enough, when I did that, the additional layers started to unfurl. Even after the scrimmage they were still asking questions. Had I started there, no one would have hung around. But now, we were getting down to the details. And it was magic.
This has me considering the story I’m holding off telling. The “one” story I’m meant to tell. I have a feeling, once I write it, there will be an ocean of stories to take its place. Or maybe there will be a sequel. Or a series. Or a…yep, there’s that human side again.
What if I gave the best part of me first to all the opportunities that came my way?
I really think God wants me to eat the middle first. I’ll figure out what to do with the crust if I make it that far.