Summer has been true to the wink it has seemed. In May, it filled me with high hopes of long, lazy days by the pool with my kids followed by extended reading until suppertime. Now, in August, that wink, well, I feel it betrayed me. It was just a tease. Here we are and our days have been a long way from lazy, the pool has been hit or miss and there has been nothing extensive about our reading times. And suppertime? You’d have to ask Jeff. Summer. Just a wink. And, the last couple of weeks, I seem to be forcing the companion smile.
We begin school in a week. I have my planning done and oh, you should see it. You’d be so proud and maybe even impressed. I’ve impressed myself. I am always in awe of how AMAZING it all looks ON PAPER. I stare at it often and daydream of sweet, stimulating, harmonious days within the walls of my home which, of course, stays perfectly clean all day long. How could I go wrong with every minute spoken for, every subject combed through and mapped out, well-written, personality-pleasing books chosen, “spontaneous” activities tucked away for needed breaks, and copies made through the last day of school? Oh my. How IS this going to turn out?
I have heard myself say a couple of words more than usual lately and I have no idea where I picked them up-- a good friend probably, and I can’t think who--but, over the last month, I have started many a sentence with “Reality is.........”. Like, “Reality is, we’ll never make it out of Lowe’s in time for the birthday party.”, or “Reality is, we have a puppy and our backyard is going to look like this for a while.” or in light of an ominous birthday looming, “Reality is, in a few years, I will want the washer/dryer raised.” Ha! When I began planning for school in late July, I tried to keep the two little words in the forefront of my mind knowing if my plan didn’t fit our family’s “reality”, it just wouldn’t work. Reality is, I can plan all I want but if I strike out on my own and never look at the plan, it will do me no good. Reality is, if this plan isn’t from the Lord, I am wasting my time and Julia and Brighton’s time. Reality is, none of this is worth it if I am executing it while being irritated all morning. Reality is, twice this week, I have had to bend down, place their young faces between my hands and ask for their forgiveness. There’s my reality lately--- and we aren’t even doing school yet.
BUT, thank God, I have hope. I love hope. Don’t you? It’s a not a fantasy but a spiritual grace. I’ve always loved how Emily Dickinson described hope ----a “thing with feathers that perches in the soul”. I know that feeling, that readiness, that “perch”-- hoping for something different, hoping for fun, for quick repentance and quicker forgiveness, hoping for enthusiasm, for laughter and hoping for Him. For Him to come and make His Presence known in our mornings, afternoons and evenings-- in our eating, praying, learning (especially our math) and playing. He makes all the difference. I’ve done it without Him-- misery, drudgery, monotony, regret, boredom, hurt. And on a good day I've done it with Him-- light, effective, joyful, satisfying, full, LIFE-giving, sweet.
I am boldly asking Him that this year would be our best year yet. There. I've said it out loud. Will I believe Him for it? Will I walk with Him in it? Will I depend on Him for it?
Reality is, He wants it for us, too.