The Middle Space – JRC Insurance Scholarship Winning Essay – Spring 2017

Each semester we award a $1000 scholarship to a high school senior or college student that writes a compelling essay about why the family breadwinner’s income should be protected by life insurance.

Beau Sperry – JRC Insurance Group Scholarship Contest Winner – Spring 2017

This semester, we’re proud to announce Beau Sperry as the author of JRC Insurance Group’s Spring 2017 Scholarship Winner! Congratulations Beau!

Beau is finishing up his Bachelor’s Degree this year at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT where he is studying Biology and Physics. Go Utes!

We’ve posted Beau’s winning scholarship essay, “The Middle Space,” below:

“The Middle Space”

It begins upside-down, but it will not end there. My mother awakens from a dusty airbag slumber, suspended by a seatbelt, in a median of a darkened highway. In retrospect, we both consider the importance of the “median”; the middle space, the seeing of the other side, the failure to cross over. Later, she would explain to me the beauty of the deer she swerved to miss, of its swift disappearance into the anonymous near-dawn of South Dakota.

These were things I did not see from my vantage point in the moving truck behind her. Instead, I saw a turn, a wanton tire, a symphony of dust and metal forced skyward by a cruel physics indifferent to love or hope or human future. Seconds later, I would see her crawl out of the car, unharmed.

To insure one’s life is to take the courageous step of imagining that which, while living, cannot be imagined or understood. My mother took time from her busy schedule to help establish my new life half a nation away. Other than the long drive, however, this was a weekend like any other: a loving parent looked out for her child, did what she could to help cultivate his dreams. That a thousand miles of straight asphalt could threaten my mother’s earthly existence never really occurred to either of us. Such is the nature of the unimaginable; such is the necessity of life insurance.

Many people suggest that life insurance can be forgone because it is unaffordable, unnecessary. These people, I think, do not want to consider the gravity of the unimaginable; they choose not to risk the discomfort of looking at loss as more than an undesirable abstraction or outcome.

As much as a life lost resembles a funeral, a black outfit, a forlorn gathering of friends, it also resembles things much more obscure and intricate. It looks like an empty refrigerator; it feels like the thick envelope of a past-due tuition bill. Growing up in a single-parent family, our threshold for loss was small. My mother, proud and responsible, realized this. Shortly after I was born, she filled out her own life insurance policy.

Working in healthcare, my mother had seen too many families challenged by loss but overtaken by its financial strain. She knew if the unimaginable were to become real, there would be no structure or financial way forward for our family. In her brave act of considering the unimaginable, she was benevolent. Just as she had made a career of concise planning and caretaking, so too did she secure our family’s future with life insurance.

Later that evening, we went to the scrapyard to salvage what we could from the crumbled vehicle. Most of its contents were broken or gone, but it did not matter. Searching through these ruined goods seemed so trivial in comparison to what could have been lost, what version of the unimaginable nearly materialized. As we searched, my mother said, tearful, “When I was in the air, I knew that no matter what happened, you would be provided for, and that mattered most.” Exhausted, I stopped for a moment to consider what she had expressed. That in her nearly dying, unimaginable moments she had thought of our family’s secure way forward was everything. In this moment, she was the paramount example of what a mother and caretaker should be, and what should be protected by a life insurance policy.

Neither of us realized the profound value of life insurance until we were confronted with the dispersal of Badlands highway dust, with the calligraphy of wreckage writ small and ornate in the windshield’s fractured glass. Our family’s future, moored on the median of the unimaginable, was safe. The emotional benefit of knowing that life insurance protected our family from realities we could not imagine brought us comfort and allowed us both to go forward living more confident than before. Staring over the edge of the unimaginable revealed to us the great fear of what cannot be known, but it also made plain our family’s great love for one another, and the great comfort of knowing our family’s legacy would be protected should life’s median ever be crossed.

Months later, we would drive past the site of the accident, right side-up, moving smoothly forward.

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