I used to have a passion for the piano. I felt differently when I played it; I heard differently; I breathed differently. For over 20 years I felt that passion and nurtured it. My then new husband even promised me long ago that when we bought a house one day it would include the baby grand to go in it. I guess I felt entitled to that after investing all those years. Slowly though, several years ago that passion weakened and then it waned and then it died. I never, ever dreamed that it would be gone. But it is.
In the past several years I’ve developed a new passion – for education. It has manifested itself in homeschooling my boys – a truly rewarding venture. I’ve invested myself fully to it, put in a lot of time and tears, developed dreams and goals and even met them (or have seen them meet them). I believe 100% that my sons are getting the very best education anywhere and I’m so please to see them thriving and growing. It is something I’m committed to and I feel a sense of conviction toward it. Not conviction in the sense that “God told me to homeschool.” More along the lines of, “I have this gifting and they have this need so obviously this is what we should be doing right now.” Right + now have always been keywords for me. Though I would completely embrace the opportunity to homeschool through high school (so much great stuff to re-learn right along with them!) I don’t know what the future holds. If the passion (mine) and the need (theirs) hold out, then I suppose we’ll go for it. But since I’ve had this other passion … equally embedded and nagging … actually die, I wonder how long the breath will last in this one?
I have to confess that I have fostered a sense of entitlement around our homeschooling -- Isn't it mine to keep and nurture? I’ve invested myself and my kids and we are pressing on no matter what because I, like many Christian homeschoolers, actually feel a sense of priviledge and duty surrounding this choice. Of course I’m going to homeschool next year. It’s who we are; it’s what we do. I’m entitled to choose this method of bringing up my boys and I’m going to do it 100%. -- I have gripped this identity hard with both hands.
Perhaps my fervor helped me succeed on one level and helped them thrive on another. But it also, seemingly, began to choke out other things. My true companion has endured a meaningless job that he’s 100% DISpassionate about so he can take care of us and give us a home in which to HOME school. (Trust me, home schooling without a home is a tricky venture. BTDT) He is very passionate about doing something else, but it doesn't pay the bills. And over this past year I’ve seen him die a slow death inside. Here I am trucking along with passion and motivation reaping the rewards of being there for my kids and he’s regretting every new day. That doesn’t seem like much of a partnership.
I will sacrifice many things for homeschooling – time with friends, creative pursuits, long distance two-hour phone calls , even the laundry – but I cannot sit by and watch him fade out because over 13 years ago I made a commitment to be forever passionate about HIM; long before the little people arrived. I also said, “Where you go, there will I go also.” But it’s difficult to hitch a ride into someone else’s dark night of the soul. It may be time for my passions to shift because His are long overdue.
A couple weeks ago I did have one of those “God told me” moments. As I sang a song in which the words were, “Take my life, all for Thee…” it’s almost as if the Divine said, “How loosely are you holding it?” I tend to hold most things loosely… except for home schooling. That has been non-negotiable. I am entitled to it, right?
A million other home educators would shout a hearty, “YES” to that. But I know that entitlement only keeps me at arms length from the Almighty. I am really entitled to condemnation after all. Everything else is grace – life, breath, health, wealth and homeschooling. I’ve never really been dogmatic about educating at home, but today I’m even less so. It too is something to leave to the leading of God. And if he gives us a need for a new direction (as well as a passion…which has been there simmering, waiting) then I have to be willing to say, “Okay, I’ll give this up.”
I am not entitled to homeschool my sons. I am entitled to serve my Savior who rescues me from death… however my hands and feet do that is negotiable. And it feels like things are about to change.