Monday, January 15, 2007
I Resolve Not to be Defeated
We're behind. Way behind. As we return to ordinary time and begin a second semester of school, I am discovering the full effect of the time lost trying to sell our house. From the first showings to the packing all the way to the unpacking, we lost a good three months of serious, dedicated, first-priority school...and it shows. It shows in the lesson numbers. It shows in skills, lost or rusty. It shows in the September-like frustrations of getting back into gear and following a schedule. It shows.
Last week I was feeling rather down about this situation and decided to go for a run--something else that had been put on the back burner while we tried to find a new home for our family.
The warm weather seemed to call me outside and as I tied my sneakers I thought about my usual route--too long neglected-- with joyful anticipation. The familiar trees and landmarks, the houses, the gardens, the smells of cooking, of chimneys, of flowers and leaves all comfort me. They seem to greet me as I approach and wave as I pass. But even as I headed out the driveway I felt a certain tension in my chest.
What's that? Ahh...push on. It will pass.
But before I even reached my first landmark, the tension turned to ache. I held my breath and pushed on with muscle. I even got a certain rhythm going and imagined my arms were the steel arms of a train forcing the wheels forward.
I am a machine. I am unstoppable.
When I was compelled to breathe again, however, I felt immanently stoppable. I found the ache had become a sting and stop I did. I walked fast, breathing hard, hoping to work it out. I walked past my second and even third landmark before I thought I could try again. The second time I made it a little further, but was forced to stop sooner than I had hoped.
As I walked the route I usually run, I thought about how this was the perfect analogy for where we are at with homeschooling. Here was a path I had run many times before, but today I couldn't run a quarter of it. I was set back. I was behind the place I had hoped and expected to be. Somehow, with the running, this didn't bother me so much. I suppose it's because I don't run to reach goals, I run to get exercise and relieve stress. I can do that running five miles or I can do that running one. Running isn't about goals, it is about the doing of it for me. It is enough that I am on the right track, moving forward-- walking or running-- and that I am challenged. Besides, I know from experience that if I am consistent enough, I will go the distances before long.
The same is true, I realized, with school. Now is not the time for goals. Now is the time to do it for the doing of it and be satisfied that we are challenged and moving forward. Now is the time for patience and consistency and before I know it, we will be going the distances. I resolve not to be defeated.
When I reached my three quarters landmark, I mustered all I had and ran at a slower-than-normal, but very steady pace. As the sting left my lungs, I could almost hear the instrumental piece from Chariots of Fire cheering me on... da, da, da, da, da, da... da, da, da, dum...When I rounded the corner to the house and crossed the finish line at last, I was still feeling as though I could run forever.
Loveliness Fair: The Loveliness of New Year's Resolutions