So Close, Yet So Far
The 2014-15 school year hasn’t been the easiest for my children, especially the older two. The number of afternoons they came home without homework was definitely in the minority. And the number of times they ended up with detention due to incomplete goals was higher than all their previous school years combined.
It probably didn’t help that my schedule was busier than usual this year, juggling a full class load, teaching part-time in two locations, and working from home as a freelance editor.
This is their last week of school. When I picked them up from school yesterday afternoon, all three of them had homework. On the way home, I tried to encourage them with, “It’s the last day you’ll be bringing homework home this school year! Tomorrow and the next day you’ll have tests, so you won’t have homework. Isn’t that exciting?”
They weren’t as jazzed as I was.
At 8:30, the older two were still slogging through their homework. I washed dishes as they sat at the dining room table.
“Mom,” my daughter said, “do you ever feel like you are so close to something and you still have so far to go? I mean, I know it’s my last math book, but it’s so hard and it’s taking me forever!”
Do I ever feel like that? Earlier this month I completed the fourth draft of my current work-in-progress, and I feel like I’m further than ever from finishing the book. A few weeks ago, I was enthusiastic and eager; this week I’ve been struggling to write a single paragraph.
“Yes, Jessica,” I answered. “I actually feel that way right now.”
“About what?” she asked.
“Dishes?” Allen added.
“About finishing my book.”
“Oh.” My daughter didn’t need to ask for more information. Nearly every night for months now, without my asking, she’s prayed for my writing, and for the people who read my book to like it.
I have to finish the book first. But I appreciate the prayers. I appreciate my daughter’s faith in me and in my ability to finish strong. I think she might have more faith in me than I have in myself as my mental self-gauge pendulum swings between incapable and clueless.
But then I thought, Maybe that’s what my kids need from me as well. Faith in them. In their ability to finish strong. Yesterday evening it was finishing their homework. Today and tomorrow, it’s finishing their tests, and their respective grades. In a few months, another school year will begin with more tests and assignments. Between now and then, life itself will be sure to serve up a random sampling of challenges.
Or maybe it’s not so random.
Maybe the challenges are chosen. The dates. The timings. The methods. Like a school with personalized lessons and grades and testing, administered by the Author of Life and all good things.
Maybe the difficulties and tests He allows to come our way are a sign of His love for us and His confidence in us. That we will look to Him and find strength and courage to keep at it another day. One day at a time.
So that we will finish strong.