Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Down the Homestretch

"It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot." — Saint Jerome

We are currently wrapping up our year of homeschooling. Subjects are slowly being finished, workbooks thrown away, final touches being put on projects, end of the year assessments are being taken. As mom and Chief Education Officer (CEO), I am evaluating what worked for us this year, what we should improve, and what direction our little school will take next year.

I am, by nature, a perfectionist in many ways. I want all the lessons finished 100%. I struggled this year with my expectation that all finished work be completely correct, and if not, completely corrected. I like every "t" crossed and "i" dotted. In my end of the year evaluations, it is easy for me to see all those t's that not crossed, all the undotted i's. It is tempting for me to fixate on all I had hoped to accomplish this year that either was done hastily, done half way, or completely unattempted. I am again reminded of my imperfections as a teacher, a counselor, and a mother.

At Mass this past Sunday, The Feast of the Good Shepherd, our parish priest spoke of vocations. He very eloquently reminded us (by pointing out his fellow priests) that God does not call the perfect. That we should not allow our imperfections, our personality flaws, or our inadequacies, to stop us from pursuing whatever God is calling us to do. While this is so very true of the calling to our vocations, and especially the priesthood, it is equally apropos to those of us called to homeschooling. It is very easy to think we are somehow too undisciplined, too prone to anger or impatience, too distracted, too uneducated, too overwhelmed, or just too "not up for the task." We forget that our calling is less about our abilities and more about being an instrument of God's grace. We forget how God uses the lowest and the most inadequate as shining examples of how his grace can work through us. We forget it is about saying "yes" to God's will, not about being able to do it all on our own.
This year has been a year of learning to say "yes" to God in the little moments, because it is all those little moments that add up to our big eternal "yes." I learned to step back from the big picture and ask myself in each little moment, "Am I doing God's will right now?" Asking is this what I need to be doing to serve God right now has allowed me to recognize when I should be saying "yes" in a different manner, when it was time to put aside my own desires. I learned to serve him in changing the diapers, cleaning the spilled syrup, as well as in teaching mathematics.
 Asking each moment has also helped me learn to leave the rest to him.  If in each moment I was doing all I could, then I couldn't be bothered by what I couldn't do. If I was called away from school to clean a bathroom because two little angels (aka 3 year-olds) had gotten into the toilet *again*, I had to do my best to clean it and then return to schooling. I couldn't beat myself up over being unable to do it all. My daily To-Do List is almost always left with three or four items that I just couldn't get finished. Instead of worrying or giving into the temptation to feel more overwhelmed, I have been working on (only sometimes successfully) trusting in God to bring to completion what He feels needs to be completed.
While I certainly was not able to finish all that I had planned for this school year, I trust that my willingness to be at the disposal of God will allow him to finish all that he feels needs to be accomplished as we wrap up this year's educational pursuits.


Anonymous said...

When you write "We forget how God uses the lowest and the most inadequate as shining examples of how his grace can work through us" I am reminded of the Preface to the Mass for Feasts of Martyrs: "Your holy martyr followed the example of Christ, and gave his life for the glory of Your Name. His death reveals Your power shining through our human weakness. You choose the weak and make them strong in bearing witness to You, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Katie said...

Thanks for this reminder! I needed to hear this as I've been pressuring the boys to do more and more and more schoolwork so that I can have EVERYTHING checked off the list before ending the year. Big deep breath. Need to let go a little. ;)