So I decided to take a day off from Blog writing. Just one day, for Moving Day. We’ve been renovating a 1973 ranch house since October. And last Monday was Moving Day. Well, Moving Day has turned into Moving Week. Much like the two-and-a-half month project that turned into five. Homeschooling during a renovation may be one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted. I’m afraid my efforts would be considered “adequate” at best. Thankfully my children love to read and find math and science exceedingly engaging.
We hired a General Contractor. We really like him and his work is solid. He was flexible with all the issues that arose. But flexibility comes at a price and the price was a good deal of my time. Daily. I would lament to my husband, “All I want to do is teach my children!”
I’ve found several things in my life at which I excel but, in the end, do not enjoy. My first career was in Public Accounting and Business Systems Consulting. I excelled at it. And it crushed all the life-giving creativity out of me. Church committee (aka “ministry team”) work managed to do the same. And home renovation, apparently, is a third on that growing list. Our home is now quite beautiful. But the process has nearly squeezed the life out of me.
We are each called to do something in this world. We are called to be parents, or pastors, or business people, or scientists; technology managers, artists, coaches, inventors. Frederich Beuchner notes that our calling is where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need and the world’s deep need is everywhere. The world needs people to design and build and renovate houses. Some people experience deep gladness in repeating this process and helping others to navigate their way through it. I’m just not one of those people.
Discernment is the difficult task of figuring out where you find your deep gladness and then determining how to apply that to the needs of a hungry world. When our work aligns with God’s calling in our lives, it’s like fireworks – beautiful and powerful and awe-inspiring.
Teaching, learning, and writing for me, are the three legs that provide thesturdy foundation for my calling. I learn and I teach, I teach while I learn, I learn while I teach. And then I write about it all. I teach my children. I teach in church. I teach the Girl Scouts. I teach classes on science and writing and literature and ethics and art for groups of homeschoolers. I write this Blog and I write curricula. I write essays and short stories and character sketches. I research and read and listen to others, so I am constantly learning. And all of that feels like fireworks.
I am in touch with the saying of Palladius, one of the Desert Fathers of early Christianity, when he says
The soul which is being trained according to the will of Christ should either be earnest in learning what it does not know, or should publicly teach what it does know. If it wants to do neither, though it could, it is mad. The first step on the road away from God is contempt for teaching, that is, not to want to give food to the soul that truly wants it.
Palladius knows what it means to be called to teach. And to walk away from that calling feels like madness. I think it is the same with other callings, too. To not fulfill your calling simply feels like madness, insanity, perpetual frustration. Lent is the perfect time to take on that difficult work of discernment, to determine if we are giving food to the souls that want it, that need it, that crave it.
I’m happy that Moving Week is over. We are still settling in, but the madness is subsiding. And I’m ready to set the fireworks aflame again. Light the match. Thanks be to God.