Summer is winding down here and I find it bittersweet. R is starting full-day school in a little over a week and it feels like a huge milestone, perhaps even more than starting kindergarten did to me. My girl will be somewhere else for seven hours a day (if you include the bus ride) and I’m…gulp…a bit sad. It makes me re-think homeschooling. (In case I’m ruffling anyone’s feathers with that statement, I’m not super serious about it. I’ve toyed with it in the past, and probably will for the next fourteen years, questioning whether public school as it’s presented today is the best fit for any child, including my own. I don’t think any teacher should have to teach 25+ kids in a classroom. If someone must do that, s/he should certainly have an aide. Ahem and ahem. I’ll get off my soapbox now.)
But I find myself craving the routine the school year provides, too. This summer has felt far busier than I anticipated. I told someone recently that it has been “wonderfully chaotic”, filled with visitors almost constantly since we returned home from vacation in July. But maybe I really am an introvert. I kind of want more space alone now, and I don’t know how to make that happen. The to-do list to prepare for school is lengthening by the minute, and yet I find myself distracted. Distracted by what, you ask? Well, here are a few things taking up space in my brain:
- My dear friend is having major surgery in three weeks, and is under a mountain of stress.
- Another dear friend is separated from her husband (yes, the one from the earlier blog post)
- My sister’s FIL is gravely ill.
- I applied for a part-time job that both excites and terrifies me. I sorely miss practicing physical therapy, but the idea that I would need to find care for my kids is daunting.
- Tom is working hard. That is an understatement.
- More guests arrive this week, we go camping soon, and R starts school the day after we get back.
- My big decade turner is coming up and I move from completely nonplussed to craving big celebration and adventure.
- Didn’t I say we wanted to enter the foster care system to be respite providers? That paperwork is somewhere.
- I do want to mentor a high school student from the alternative high school at church and just need to fill.out.the.paperwork!
- Speaking of churches, we’re probably going to divide and conquer to check out churches this fall, and that feels overwhelming, too.
I want to be fully in the present, sucking the marrow out of life. (Ah, I do love “Dead Poets’ Society”.) I want my kids to see me wanting to interact, to play, to love, to laugh, to read, to pray, to be with them. But if I’m perfectly honest I kind of want to retreat and read a magazine or watch the next episode of “The Newsroom”. And I was convicted about truly being in relationship with Jesus and spending ample time in prayer. It’s not a thing to do, and I never want it to be, but I’m having a challenging time focusing when I even try.
Bother. I know I’m not alone in this being-pulled-in-many-directions. It’s true that if I slow down and listen to God I’ll have a better sense of what my priorities are. But checking email and researching anything (new foyer light, anyone?) takes way less energy. So here I pray: God, speak to me even if I feel like I have little to give. Be with me and with those around me who desperately need your touch. Guide us in the big and small decisions. Give us boldness and humility in spades. May we love as you love, may we seek you, may we leak Jesus intentionally and unintentionally all the time.