I thought about the things on the agenda for the day, and it depressed me. None of it looked appealing. Not the laundry, not the housework, not the homeschooling. Laundry and housework are never my favorites, so that was understandable. Homeschool is usually something I enjoy (in theory, anyway), but lately? Not so much.
One of the kids has entered a rough patch in school. We’re kind of at an impasse, where it feels like no progress is being made. I’ve been here before, and I know how this works. We’ll plug along, day after day, and then one day a gear will catch inside his head and we’ll start moving forward again. Knowing this, though, and slogging through it anyway are two different things.
The same child is unprepared for his piano lesson. He’ll take this hard, and since he’s at a place where he can’t practice effectively without my help, I feel mostly responsible.
My oldest is going to public school next year, so for the first time I feel the traditional school calendar pressing on me. We still have some things to cover. The idea that he might head to school unprepared because his mother was busy writing a book on organization is an irony I don’t care to live out.
All little things, really. Many people in the world are facing much harder problems than this, but it was the kind of day where I wanted to call in tired. The only thing that sounded appealing was to curl up in my quilt and watch Austen adaptations on TV. Never mind all that stuff I wrote in my book, I was in a funk, and I preferred to stay there (at least for the five hours of Pride and Prejudice, anyway).
And that’s the biggest part of the problem: I wrote a book about this. I know the cause of my angst is really unbelief. I even outlined it carefully and sent it to a publisher. And now they’re going to put their money where my mouth is and bind it up in print on real pages. I should be beyond this kind of thing by now, shouldn’t I?
There are worse things than waking up with a case of the blahs. I wasn’t spiking my coffee with hard liquor or entertaining gentleman callers. My kids were going to wake up confident that I wasn’t going to spend the day beating them or screaming obscenities. If I decide to ignore my work and do my own thing, I’m going to look downright serene compared to some households in the world.
But while I look the part of the sweet Midwestern housewife, searching Netflix for period dramas and pouring yet another cup of coffee, this is really my passive-aggressive way of shaking my fist at God.
How dare you ask me to work on a day like today! What were you thinking, making it cloudy when I’m tired and have so much to do? Why does homeschool have to be hard? Why can’t things be easier? The wall-to-wall carpet in my three-bedroom, two-bathroom house has to be vacuumed, and I don’t want to. Why do you ask so much of me?
I’m working through The Bruised Reed again, so it picked it up from the end table. Reading Puritan writers isn’t on my to-do list, either, but it looks better. I’m a sly one, I tell you. I can find all manner of good things with which to stall from the work at hand. This is what I read:
As seed rots in the ground in the winter time, but after comes up better, and the harder the winter the more flourishing the spring, so we learn to stand by falls, and get strength by weakness discovered…We take deeper root by shaking.
Weakness, with acknowledgement of it, is the fittest seat and subject for God to perfect his strenth in; for consciousness of our infirmities drives us out of ourselves to him in whom our strength lies.
Yes, I am weak. I would much rather play than work. I live a life of blessing and ease, and yet I still grumble and complain.
So I got up and got to work. As blessed as it would have been to have woken up with a song in my heart and a good attitude in my head, I didn’t. It is what it is. I began the work of the day: clearing the counter, paying the bills, working on math.
I wish I could report that it turned out to be a great day, but it was just an okay day. School and piano lessons went better than I thought they would, but I can’t say that they went swimmingly. I arrived at the grocery store just after the noon news began forecasting snow, and had to deal with the crowds (Hank Williams, Jr. is correct that country folks can survive, but they still prefer to stock up on toilet paper before snow storms, given the chance).
But by the end of the day, I had done what I needed to do. Not perfectly, but with a smoldering wick of faith in the only One who matters. And some days, that is about as good as it gets.