I have been on summer break, theoretically. This was to be the “first real summer break” after years of rigorous grad work, family emergencies, and other compelling challenges. I anticipated hours of contemplation. I anticipated hikes to the mountain top. I anticipated getting a tan.
But when I packed up my school room in mid-June, toted a million books to the mountain, chose one delightfully unnecessary novel (for fun), and set up my “office on the porch,” I had no idea that this would be the most demanding summer: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
I had no idea.
However, as my dreams of writing lovely lesson plans, profound and publishable poetry, Redemptive Education training materials and Fun Letters to Friends thumped over the ridge to the chasms below; and as I repeatedly hoisted, with desperate prayer and unaccustomed muscle, the weight of my beloved elderly father – to the bathroom, to the Emergency Room, to the recliner where he rested in relief – it became very clear that my Biblical, Relational, Integral and Experiential summer was going in directions I had NOT anticipated.
Oh, He does all things well:
I learned in unavoidably authentic specificity the requirements of Bodies. This can be something of a shock to someone who tends towards the rarified air of educational philosophy. But as I learned about Bodies, I learned about myself and about those children whose Bodies daily traipse the halls at school.
I learned a bit about what Milton might have meant when he wrote: “They also serve who only stand and wait. . . ” Loving others: parents, colleagues and certainly children may involve a great measure of waiting around, observing, attending to long necessities. This is love. This is serving.
Blithe statements on the topic of thistles and donkeys became my hourly urgent plea: Feed me, O God! Make me strong from these “thistles”! Help me be useful! Help me receive from You in the midst of this season YOUR provision, YOUR enabling, YOUR blessing, YOUR wisdom! In the Name of the One who made donkeys and thistles – O, Christ! in Your Name I pray! Amen.