“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
We’re nearing the final days of May, a little shocking for me since this month has been so atypically cool and rainy. Still, I’m ready. We’re all eager to wrap up our school year, including the mister who will be finished with his own at the end of next week! I love my children. I love homeschooling. But I’m always a little weary by this point. Summer is the season where our family recovers and restores, and after a full summer expended on home projects last year, this one is long overdue.
I’ve often written about seasons here, both the literal and figurative sort. After an enormous financial loss a few years ago and two moves later, I’ve found regular comfort at the thought of seasons, the perspective that extremes of any kind–whether the heat from the sun or the hardship of our circumstances–do end or change at some point.
I know my weariness may come by surprise to some of you, as life via this space is edited and only seen in part. I select and write about bits and pieces, hinting at the whole. They are honest snippets of a larger story, but rarely reveal the grit of the day: the unwilling children, the unmet goals, the doubt, and even at times the tears. And we have a good mix of all of it. I hope that offers someone encouragement.
As I have thought about it recently, so many of our current family goals are long-term oriented: parenthood, homeschooling, home renovation. Although we deeply care about each part, the truth is: parenting is hard. Homeschooling is hard. Living in a partially-finished home is hard. My husband works a full-time and a part-time job to keep our family afloat, so that I can stay home with our children and homeschool them. I write and photograph part-time (often at odd hours or on weekends) here and elsewhere, to help fill in financial gaps for things like soccer or ballet lessons or orthodontic braces. We are a team, a duo working in tandem with one another in every capacity, and by this time in the year, our endurance is waining.
I cried over coffee with him this morning. I don’t cry very often, but this one I could feel coming, my fingers grazing the borders of our capacity for too long. I had begun to lose heart, lose focus. In this place doubt feels the loudest. He listened and then gently offered encouraging perspective. We’ve had so many drastic changes over a short period of time and have adjusted as many circumstances as possible to uphold the people and ideas we love most. I love him for always leaving me with laughter and words that point me to Jesus.
Whoever we are, whether parenting or homeschooling or planning a career, whether working through financial pitfalls or sickness in ourself or in someone we love, life requires endurance. It requires intermittent pause and breath and water–literally and figuratively–ways to gather perspective and restore our souls a bit along the way. I realized this year, I had stopped prioritizing these little pauses for myself. Focused on needs and work at hand, I had stopped exercising or making regular time for reading and praying or taking care of my overall health. I naturally gained a bit of weight and felt more sluggish in thought. I missed feeling strong, clear of mind and heart. So earlier this month, I began finding quiet for myself again. I began running/walking and practicing some yoga on my front porch a few times a week again. These simple moments and movements allow me time to stretch and pray and listen, to quiet the swirling lists of TO DOs and demands. Although these moments won’t solve life’s conflict, they give me courage and ultimately remind my heart to endure. Be strong and courageous, friends.
This post is sponsored by Hooked Productions, a small family-run business in upstate New York which designs and creates eco-friendly clothing, using bamboo and organic cotton. I love their motto: “live the life you love. love the life you live.” Thank you for supporting businesses that help keep this space afloat. As always, all thoughts are my own.
Images by Kristen Douglass of Fidelis Studio.
Lovely. Lovely. Lovely. On so many levels.
You’re right, so much of what we’re doing, parenting, homeschooling, renovating a house (I’m right there with you) are long term. I’d like to snap my fingers and have some results I can see right now. But that’s not the way most of life works. We must endure the messy, unfinished aspects of life. I find this a challenge at times as well.
Thank you for the encouragement, Danielle. I bet there are several overlaps between our lives, and just maybe, we’ll get to sit in person and chat together about them. I hope you’re enjoying summer.
Thank you Bethany! This hits very close to home for me.
It’s nice to know we’re not alone, yes? Strength and courage, dear Sarah.
Beautiful poses. :) I’ve found yoga and running/walking great ways to help quiet and focus my mind and heart as well. There is something wonderful about deep breaths in and out, and just being with yourself and your thoughts – it’s so calming and, for me, much-needed. And I love the idea of seasons, too, and how it applies to life (so true!). Thank you for the lovely reminder.
YES! Slower activity seems to feel more necessary and purposeful in this stage of life, and stretching myself physically always releases the manners of control, the ways I tense my muscles and self to accomplish during our daily routines. It’s nice to be un-wound in all ways, I suppose. ;)
I totally understand where you are coming from. I am having my own set of teary moments this week. In the last 2 months, we have dealt with a lot of life transition type of stuff. Some of it has been intensely humbling and some of it is very positive and hopeful. And with all this crazy Texas weather, these daily tornado and flood warnings have me on edge. But as with all new chapters in life, things do eventually calm down, the sun comes out, and peace is found. Until then, I just do my best to focus on the simple things… making cookies with my girls, a good book to get lost in, and cuddling up every night on the couch with my husband. Hang in there, friend!!!
Grace to you, Colleen, and thank you for the encouragement. I hope the summer break is filling and slowing you the way it is for me. x