“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”. This sounds like it is something from the mid-19th century, but it is maybe 25-30 years old at most. it was written by Stuart Townend, who is better known for more contemporary pieces.
We got word today that schools in Washington will remain closed for the rest of the year. Kids who need it will still get food (which is good because we have a lot of kids of migrant workers here), and instruction will be taking place online. Schools are checking out Chromebooks for their students to use, and teachers have had to figure out how to put the rest of their curriculum for the year online.
This is what you homeschooling parents can do that will be incredibly helpful for people like me:
KEEP YOUR MOUTHS TIGHTLY SHUT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU *LOVE* HOMESCHOOLING YOUR KIDS UNLESS WE ASK FOR YOUR OPINION OR YOUR HELP.
Seriously, if we wanted to homeschool our kids, WE WOULD ALREADY BE DOING IT.
Our kids’ teachers are better resources than you because they actually *KNOW* our kids, know their learning styles, know their deficient areas, and (in Daniel’s case) have special degrees and certifications in working with kids like ours. ALL OF THEM are being extra brilliant and supporting parents like me in ways that we need that you are not qualified (nor wanted) to do. Failing that, I have other friends who have done an amazing job homeschooling their own kids that I will ask for help if I need it.
Talking about how wonderful homeschooling is to parents like me who are in their own personal version of hell will get you verbally ripped apart. I have an autistic kid who would go to his brick-and-mortar school seven days a week if he could–I’m having to try and work with him in a context that is utterly wrong to him. It is hell on earth, and you aren’t helping me. In fact, you are making me want to kill you.
Many of us are also balancing our own outside-the-home jobs over conference calls at the moment, and having to teach our children is ONE MORE THING on top of a workload that does not lend itself well to being done from home. Some of us, like me, also find leaving our physical houses to work to be something mentally healthy, and hearing about how wonderful it is to work from home will make us stabby.
By all means, please continue to blog about what you are doing with your kids. Just please knock it off with the posts about how parents in my situation will come to love homeschooling and “this is how you can keep doing it!”
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servants, Nicki and Carole. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, two sheep of your own fold, two lambs of your own flock, two sinners of your own redeeming. Receive them into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.
In other news, we’re up to 121 cases, 9 people hospitalized in the course of their illness, and 3 deaths. It’s a jump of 22 cases today, but that also has to do with the Acute Respiratory Clinics being open today and not over the weekend.
Here in Washington, we are under a shelter-in-place order until Holy Week, and it will likely get extended until the COVID-19 situation is resolved. (45’s plan to reopen things for Easter isn’t going to happen in these parts. Even if things did, I’m not resuming a normal life until *ACTUAL* epidemiologists recommend it, not a failed businessman and reality star.) I was already under a more restrictive shelter-in-place than existed before the one in Washington went into effect, so this was nothing new. Since I could probably enumerate the ways this situation stinks, I thought I would turn that on its head and talk about some *GOOD* things that are coming of this.
I’m developing an entirely new skill set. I had used Zoom twice before March 11th when I had to suddenly become a power user for work. I had never done a live post on Facebook until March 15th. I am now teaching people how to use both, and I am contributing to putting my church’s worship service online from home. (I had to make the decision not to be there in person to record last Saturday, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was a struggle to make the decision and I cried my eyes out because it was *ONE MORE* life-giving thing being taken away from me.)
This Sunday, I get to be the “cyber verger” and do all the cueing, embedding, and unmuting when we do worship over Zoom.
I’m rediscovering the beauty of Compline. Our bishop has requested that we not hold corporate worship through Easter (and we are complying because a.) we listen to the bishop, and b.) the shelter-in-place order from Governor Inslee prohibits it), so I asked my priest if I could do Compline on the church Facebook page as a way of creating community and praying together even though we’re physically scattered. He enthusiastically gave me his blessing, so I have been doing it on weeknights at 8:30 p.m. It is my favorite of the Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer, so it is been fun to get to do it. I accidentally recorded it on my Facebook wall on Tuesday night, which might not have been a bad thing because one of my college friends from Intervarsity joined me. 🙂
I am getting a lot of reading done. While I do read a lot, it tends to be online things. Being “bored” has meant that I spend a chunk of my day reading on my bed with Minion on the panther trap I have for him. (It’s a quilt that he tends to appropriate from me.) I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (finally!!!), and I plan to start another book tonight.
I’m having dinner with my parents more often. We don’t eat together as a family often because my parents and I are usually doing our own thing at night, and Daniel obviously is fed by pump. (We still encourage him to join us at the table for some milk or Cheerios.) We have managed to eat dinner together twice this week, which is nice. Dad was making hamburgers for him and my mom on Sunday, so I joined them with a “tuna burger” as my mom put it. (I am pesco-vegetarian for Lent and Dad has been keeping up a steady supply of tuna for me.) Last night, I made lasagna (because I wanted lasagna, darn it!) and they joined me for that. (I currently have 7 servings of lasagna frozen for me in the chest freezer in the garage so that I can vary my diet a bit.)
I’m blessed with an amazing resource in Daniel’s teacher. Daniel’s teacher is researching every possible classroom management program out there so that all of her kiddos have at least one that works well for them. We are going to be using one called ClassDojo for Daniel as well as Google Classroom because that is what the school district wants to use. I am really thankful that she is so dedicated to her students!
I am not having to hang out in waiting rooms and exam rooms with Daniel. Daniel’s specialists through Seattle Children’s and our pediatrician up here have been willing to do phone appointments so that we don’t have to go there. It isn’t that bad of a trek to Everett where Daniel would have had a G-I appointment last Friday, but it still meant that I did not have to be up at 6 to leave by 7 for Daniel’s x-ray and 8:00 appointment.
I am appreciating Max Lucado’s “Coronavirus Check-in” videos.Max Lucado is one of the few evangelicals that doesn’t make me want to stab things. His books are lovely, and he has been putting out videos almost every day on his YouTube channel and on Facebook where he is checking in, giving a short pep talk, praying for people, and inviting people to submit their prayer requests so that others can pray for them. It’s totally not something normally on my radar, but I came across this video on Facebook and have been sharing it all over the place:
People were ripping Max apart in the comments, but it is a beautiful video because it is so true. God can deal with our frustrations, and Max encourages us to have a meltdown if we need it… but to not stay there and to come back to a place of praise, using parts of the third chapter of Lamentations as an example.
Compared to the scope of a pandemic, my life feels quite small. Not necessarily insignificant, but most definitely small: myself just one person, my family just one little cluster of people amidst the billions all swept up in a single massive crisis. It is the kind of smallness that can make someone feel helpless and afraid, unsure of how to protect themselves and their loved ones from something so big and so out of their control; it is the kind of littleness that can leave us cowering and vulnerable against a greater force than we can hope to conquer.
But tonight, as I put my daughter to bed, she curled herself up against my side, tucked under my arm, and I thought that the smallness of fear or helplessness is not the only kind of smallness in this world. There is also the smallness of restful trust: the smallness of a little child confident in their parents’ love, to whom the world may be very big and scary indeed but for whom that parent is a shield and refuge and source of strength. This is the smallness of a child who is hurt, or sad, or scared, or angry, but whose tears fade in the arms of their mother or father.
The Psalmist wrote that,
“Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so my soul.”
Against the swirling unknown threats of a pandemic, against the overwhelming storm of uncertainty and anxiety that is threading its way around the world, we are each on our own very small indeed, like a young child trying to fend for themselves. But where I find peace in this time is in acknowledging my own smallness and staying close by God my Father, who is quite the opposite of small and helpless, and in whose unconditional love I can be utterly confident. I do not need to be my own strong tower in the hurricane; he offers his strength so that in him I may have the peace of a child comforted in their mother’s arms.