Tomorrow, the kids and I will head out of town for a last minute Fall Break road-trip. Back in August when I marked these days on the school calendar I pictured colorful leaves, apples, light sweaters, and pumpkin patches. I'm not sure why I pictured those things knowing what Autumn actually looks like in the South. A few days ago, the girls spent an afternoon in swimsuits making mud pies in the (very green) backyard. Today at Tristan's soccer game we were sweating through our seats in the humidity as red-faced boys struggled to keep moving on the field. This is Autumn in Florida. So October may still be all flip-flops and iced coffee, but a break is a break and I'll take it. See you next week with pictures from Texas!
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
A typical weekday morning will find us at the table "doing school". We try to start early so we can finish early for there is so much more waiting.
There are snails to catch, pretend worlds to visit, forts to build, and friends to see. I often have to remind myself that homeschooling is more than sitting at a table filling in blanks. It is more than books, and plans, and grade levels. It is learning to live all of life together. Oh it’s so much more than that even.
But sometimes all of life, all together can feel a bit like too much together. We get tired, we grumble, we fight, we want space, we want out. Sometimes we watch longingly as the yellow buses pass by. Lord, if I only had a little more time, a little more rest, a little more...me?
I spend my days planting seeds of knowledge in their uncombed heads, praying they grow into understanding, and hoping for the years when when wisdom takes root in their hearts. But this process of growing up strong is slow. And exhausting.
Daily, the mess threatens to become more than I can handle, the volume in the yard more than the neighbors can stand, and the hours till bedtime more than I have energy for. Sometimes I wonder why I chose this. What was I thinking?
Those precious few moments finally come when they are worn out, slowed down, quiet in rooms with books, legos, doll houses, and dreams -and I turn to face the rest of it. Laundry, dishes, phone calls, emails, schedules, grocery lists, and so much more. More? Why must there always be more?
I finish what I can before we head to the soccer fields. Or the gymnastics class. Or whatever more the day holds.
And then a child with twinkling eyes brings me a block of wood painted and glittered and transformed into beauty of her own making. Or I find evidence of a five year old imagination at work that makes me smile -a mix of toys and nature and pure childhood. A successful science experiment blooms in the window as excited kids count new leaves. Hints of something more -something good.
This is where I could insert some pretty words that say it's all worth it. The glittery-smile moments outweigh the teary-eyed moments, long days always end in peaceful goodnight kisses. The end.
But laundry has buried my couch, we keep breaking glass things in the kitchen, mealtime conversations mostly revolve around complaining and burping, and Friday night a three year old crawled into my bed and peed on my legs. So I'm not really up for making-it-pretty-where-it's-not, you know? It never ends.
The truth is, sometimes pretty can be hard to find -especially when the ugly has spread to my heart. Probably it started there. And the more I try to work on my attitude, the more I try to change me, the more I strive and push and climb, the more I see that I can't do this. I didn't choose this. I have nothing to offer this. The more I give of me, the less it's all worth to anybody.
But I was chosen for this. I'm not supposed to do all or be all. I'm just supposed to be here. I don't have to make it all pretty and shiny all the time. I'm supposed to be made in it. And then His will is done. He is greater, I am less. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Rest does come. If I'm willing to let go and enter in. I know this because when my vision blurred and I cried out in desperation, "then show me how to do this!?" He answered,
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5
It doesn't really get any easier. Everything doesn't suddenly come into focus. It just stops being about me. (Until I fall again, and He picks me up again, and reminds me again, and again, and again...)
Grace changes everything, doesn't it? This amazing, unending grace actually causes me to hope for more.