All I want to do today is walk and think. We will be going out later to find some acorns for Miss Puddleduck’s autumn project. We might collect some crab apples too, as I intend to make crab apple jelly. I noticed blossoms, in the spring, where I had never seen apple blossoms before and now there is lots of fruit. But I want to get out to have some natural thinking time.
Our family is growing up. Our horizons are changing like in the beautiful sunset above that Longshanks captured on camera from our field, the other evening. In a short space of time the sky changed from being a stunning sunset to an even more outstanding sunset! It kept getting more and more breath taking as the sun sank lower.
Rich Tea Boy seems to be settling and we had a very grown-up conversation, on the way to school this morning, trying to ascertain whether attending school is the way that he should continue to walk in or not. I have been trying to get an appointment with his learning manager to hear how his teachers think he is doing. One thing that has surprised me about school is how little they actually get to do for the length of time that they are there. We were always told that, as home educators, 2-3 hours of concentrated learning was the equivalent of what was done in school. Should I be surprised to discover that that’s true? Rich Tea Boy tells me that it is a lot easier to learn at home and he’s already weary of the onslaught of distractions he has to fend off in order to get things learnt at school. But on the positive side, he is able to learn and has enjoyed meeting new people. He finds the immaturity of his peers amusing and, he said this morning, quite refreshing. He said he has had a number of people ask him if he should actually be in the year above, because he seems older. I was asking him questions this morning that related to how he felt his faith and character were growing. His answers were very mature and reflective of the discipleship input of Tim and his youth leader. To date, he hasn’t found school easy, which doesn’t mean it is necessarily the wrong decision for him. He prefers being home educated to school educated, he says, but has found school interesting. As we approach the one-month-in assessment of his schooling my thoughts are very absorbed in thinking about this.
My thoughts are also very absorbed by thinking about Longshanks’ future as, last weekend, he was offered an opportunity that is very true to who he is and completely fits him. I have felt myself being prepared for the changes this will bring but there is still a lot I have to process, as expectation becomes reality. He was focussing on re-sitting one of his exams with no real clarity about what he would do after. He knew what he would like to do, but wasn’t sure how he could do it. However, a door has opened for him at just the right moment and suddenly there is a clear way ahead for him after he has re-sat his exam. As we discussed this opportunity that has been offered to him, I expressed my conviction of it being right for him but explained that conviction didn’t prevent me being woken in the middle of night by what about this or what if that questions. He very philosophically responded by saying, “But any decision in life is accompanied by what ifs“. How true! It is so lovely to see him so excited. He mentally prepares me by joking that he might be driving home for Christmas 2017 with a girlfriend and a beard!
Every morning, as I drive the stunning country lanes that are now my daily school run I’m thinking how our horizons are changing as our family grows up, and my thoughts are echoed by outstanding Welsh vistas. Since our big “Blue” – as Miss Puddleduck named the Vauxhall -died, Tim’s little red car has been doing all the donkey work of fetching and carrying. It is old and tiny but bearing up well and we have to be very adaptable and clever in our logistics, as we can’t all fit in it. I feel that I have unwittingly become a taxi driver like the other day, I took Rich Tea Boy to school and returned home to immediately give Tim a lift down to work. A dance remix of Crowder’s version of “Because He lives” was blasting out of the speakers in the living room before we left. After laughing with Tim about the arrangement, I listened to the words and realised that Tim was purposefully strengthening himself – “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow”. After I had dropped him at work I returned home to find Miss Puddleduck dancing to the Chariots of Fire film theme. There is no significance in that!
Our horizons have got broader, over the summer, as we have taken on the responsibility of leading two churches. Right now, new structures and procedures are being put in place in the one church and it feels like we are spread quite thin. We have gone from overseeing the discipleship of approximately 100 people to 200 people and are rapidly trying to build apostolic structures that ensure both communities flourish in their location. Right now, the implication of this is that we feel less able to give quality time to individuals, but that will return as other people are released to meet discipleship needs and as structures are formed. This feeling of being spread thin is temporary and life is full those moments of transition, where everything changes gear.
When I stand back and look, I see so much that encourages me. I see fruit. I see people flourishing. I see young people growing. I see new life emerging. I see purpose. I see character developing. I see maturity blossoming. I see a beautiful horizon. I’m so grateful.
I quote Tim’s favourite verse: Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining brighter til the full light of dawn.