"There is an edge and we all must feel that edge or we will die. We may keep on eating and sleeping and voting and shopping but we will surely die if we do not feel that edge and admit its existence. I know I must. But we must respect that edge or we do not deserve to live. To topple off it and into the void is to become monsters...So we must seek the edge but respect it. I am not a man of the center. I am from somewhere else."
- Charles Bowden, Blues For Cannibals
"I am not a man of the center. I am from somewhere else." I can remember reading those words for the first time, probably close to ten years ago now, and thinking yes. It's not that I don't want to be a man of the center, it's that I can't. It's not who God planted in my mother's womb. I am from somewhere else, somewhere other than "center."
But it's not a death-wish, mind you - that's thrill-seeking, the folly of youth; the belief that the rush is what it's all about. No, this is not about seeking the thrill, but seeking the edge. The real, tangible edge, whether of faith or love or work. This is seeking the edge but respecting it at the same time, for as Bowden says, "To topple off it and into the void is to become monsters." I do not wish to be a monster. But I am not a man of the center. And in the learning of myself, I can look back and see times of stress or moments of conflict when someone or something was trying to get me in the center and I just couldn't do it; it was like David trying to wear Saul's armor. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't get around on all twos.
My wife is not a woman of the center. My best friends are not men of the center. The authors I read do not write from the center. They are all of them from somewhere else. And I love that. Seeking the edge but respecting it. If we don't respect it, feel it, or at least admit its existence, then we don't deserve to live.
I'm about to lay me down to sleep. My dreams are never center-dreams. I dream from somewhere else.