Failing to Escape the Fallen Man

There are no guarantees in life.  Simply there are none.  None, I say.  I used to believe that if I follow a certain protocol then all will be well in my life, well, actually, I wasn't that naive, just mostly naive and what I really thought was that most would go well.  Well, well, well.  I no longer believe that.  And as a homeschooler to my five children I am striving to find a balance and rethink in this area of my life, because I am freetothink!  I do want to pass on my faith in Christ to my children, but I don't want to pressure my kids through manipulation, fear or bribery.  I simply want to live.  They are also told what I believe, we discuss the bible out loud, but I really want how I live to be the larger persuasive factor.  It's not my perfection that will win them over, I think, but my willingness to admit how imperfect I really am, making things right where I need to with them and simply marinating them in love, mine and God's.  But really, the reality is that we, none of us, can really fully escape the aftermath of the fallen man in life no matter how we think we will try and succeed.

Initially, when I decided to keep my kids out of any school, public or private, almost six years ago, I was on a mission to save my kids from this horrible world in which we live in and protect them from all evil.  Seriously.  But the reality was my kids needed to be saved from "fallen man" on all sides.  Mom had failed much at home to love, be kind, to care for my kids like I should have.  I lost my temper and I dare say, if my kids went to school the teacher would never get away with such antics.  I failed, I am fallen, but I get up, make it right and strive to go on to loving and walking in what I believe to be the Holy Spirit's ability in me to do better, to do right by my kids.  I thought I was "saving my kids from all evil," but I wasn't, not really.  They were just experiencing difficult things in a different way with different people. We are and were involved in all sorts of groups and co-ops where the other kids said mean things to mine and I am sure mine said some mean things to them, too.  Sometimes they were hit by another child or bullied.  I know we as parents need to step in where necessary, but no matter how much we do, there isn't a fool proof way of life that keeps our kids from experiencing difficult, hurtful and even downright unjust things.  Life-altering things that shape us and how we live and view the world and how we rest in God or in ourselves. 

I'll go even further and say the reality is that every church in this town has a plethora of fallen souls, so much that they are prowling to take hold of your children or influence them in some way or another that may be not what you were intending for the blessed souls that God has placed in your care.  It isn't the safest place on earth for your family to be, no matter how "separated" you think you are from the "world".  Even in the Mennonite and Amish communities where they have almost totally shut themselves off from the entire world they have dealt with sexual molestation, child abuse, and other things that aren't so pretty that affect the very same children they are trying so hard to protect.  I know many who have left those communities, never to practice those ways again and they are happy and well-rounded, Jesus- following individuals.  Did the world ruin them?  No, it made them better.  And the truth is we cannot escape fallen man.  They are everywhere.  Whether it be at home(even ourselves at times), at school or on the street or in church, fallen man is everywhere.  You can't run or hide fully nor do you need to be afraid, but simply trust in your God.  He is bigger than anything that your child may or may not experience. 

Sunday Morning

I sit in front of this glow of white. It’s Sunday morning. It’s relatively quiet and for now quite calm despite the inevitable clap and clamor that five children can stir up at any given moment. The man has gone to bed after a relatively less stressful twelve-hour graveyard at the hospital has ended. Eggs and toast, coffee and a bagel with cream cheese, butter and jelly were on the menu and then yet, one more cup of joe. It’s getting louder in here. Crocheting, block building, book-looking are all being pursued in the living room. Sleep is still going on for my oldest, my first-born son. Sleep is his favorite thing to do I think. Oh, no, that’s right, eating is his favorite. I forgot. Silly me.

Now the girls are acting out being sly heros in their own game. A burst of song comes out. Ring around the rosie this time. The hum of children and one woman, their mother, sitting, typing and wondering if she can write. Write for a living. Is it even possible? The other son of mine is singing in the kitchen. Hey, at least he is singing this time instead of shouting. Oh, wait, now they are shouting. Well, that took all of fifteen seconds or less. The story of my parenting life and all so very normal I think. Normal can be exciting, right? Even if it is exciting for the wrong reasons. Now the girls are all chanting in unison, “Save me. Save me!” Now my oldest girl is making sure my youngest girl has her underwear on. The four year old often forgets her under garments. She rends them when they are put on or messed on or whatever. She does not like her panties. Some free spirits are like that and she is definitely a free spirit and to her very bones.

Now someone is hurt, down for the count and holding their head and screaming. And this is what happens when mom tries to write. Casualties and bodies falling in time with the humming they provide and every where. When a mom pursues anything singularly with young children waiting in the wings there is bound to be a problem or two. The order keeper has her mind elsewhere. The taskmaster has hung up her coat for a time. The nurse maid, the cook and teacher are taking a bit of a break, if she can.

My boy stands by my side, asking questions, demanding an answer, spewing statements as fast as I can type what‘s coming to me in my brain. He finally says, "Oh".
 I guess he realizes that mom is actually doing something that needs her full brain present and she can’t have it present fully in more than one place at a time, although I do know that in many cases I have probably had my brain present in three places at one time, but never fully. I ask my oldest daughter to get my youngest daughter some breakfast. She interjects, “But she still doesn’t have underwear on.” I guess she can’t fix a bowl of cereal until the child is properly clothed. Some sort of unwritten rule for eight year olds I suppose. Or more likely an excuse to get out of doing the deed and getting the cereal. Or maybe I should just think the best of her and believe she does have some sort of phobia.

And the morning rolls along and it has gotten quieter. Library books are in one hand and another one looks on. Two are in the kitchen and quiet and hopefully staying out of trouble. And I get back to the main thought. Writing. Why and it has never occurred to me that I could write a story or a poem or a book. I hated reading in school. I didn’t read my textbooks, but passed classes fairly well, by listening and memorizing the basics. I didn’t read my assigned fiction books. I read the back of such books and did whole book reports and still received a good grade. Maybe I should have known then that I could and should try to write. I was a singer, I loved and wanted to teach music, not be a writer.

Now two are singing the alphabet. It’s all in a day’s work, don’t you see? And Sundays are lazy days for us. Over fours years now of not running around to get to church morning, mid-week and night. Some lament our choice and some rejoice and most don’t care either way. I say we are okay.  I say it's all good. But that old gnawing feeling of guilt sweeps over us week after week and we realize we were simply programmed to think this way. And the truth is that we still care about what God thinks and that is what matters. He knows our hearts and that we wish to make ourselves more useful and not less useful to Him by our being out of the four walls of concrete blocks or wooden planks or in most cases glorified plywood. Useful may not be the right word.  Pliable may be a better one.  Truth is revealed, His truth, everywhere now and in all things. Many things can be gleaned and from many people and yes, we live in a world of sowing and reaping and also where God‘s desire for us to love each other and Him reigns supreme. This is what I see now on this Sunday morning. So I reflect, I observe like a scientist the things that go on in my home and I practice writing.