Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I had coffee with my friend, Linda, on Friday. We originally met in front of the book section of the Goodwill close to where she lives. We noticed the books the other was pulling off the shelves and started a conversation which basically went, "Yes, I am a homeschool Mom". :)

While having coffee, Linda mentioned how different the coming year would be as she no longer has a "student" at home. She has homeschooled for 20+ years and her youngest is graduating at the end of summer. I told her my Sunday Afternoon Tea was going to be all about...The Seasons of Life. For that has been where my own ponderings have been for awhile.

Even though I have another year of "official" homeschooling, this year will be completely different since Christopher will be taking most of his classes at the junior college. His dad will continue teaching Latin and I will teach Government and Economics. homeschool years are behind me if one considers full time lessons and schoolwork.

A new season of life...once again.

I have found moving from one season to another can be sudden, as in marriage or the birth of a first child, graduation from high school or college, starting a job, leaving the workforce to stay at home full time, etc. Others are less obvious as we may have been in this season for awhile before we realize where we are. For instance, it dawned upon me one day that I no longer had a child at home who demanded my constant supervision. I couldn't tell you when it happened, I just found myself able to do my work around the house without having to be concerned my son was going to burn down the house or play in the street. (I wish I could say this was earlier than twelve but he and his best friend's curiosity regarding taking things apart and putting them back together with sparks flying is legend in our old neighborhood.)

There are times I miss the old days when we lived in Holland and we were a young family of three. We often spent our weekends going to restaurants or walking the boardwalk in Sagatuck. I miss the days when we were homeschooling elementary school and I was learning as much about nature and history as was Christopher. I miss driving back home to visit mom and going to all of our favorite places before she was bedridden (and later passed away). I miss how much I could accomplish when I was in the early seasons of life.

However, I wouldn't want to do anything to change history so it is a good thing one cannot return to the past. The person I am today could not enjoy being in my 20s again, no matter how delightful our little girl was. I know I wouldn't have the energy to run after a toddler today. It was difficult enough when I was an older mom of a little boy.

God gives us the grace for today and only today. To constantly look back at the past and wish we were reliving pleasant experiences is probably to look at those experiences through the filter of time. In reality, the years it was just "the three of us" were also demanding as I was putting in long hours at an office and coming home to another full time job as wife and mom. I spent more time at the office than at home. I could have hung a "Cubicle Sweet Cubicle" sign on the office walls. (I always put my own creative stamp on those cubicles!)

Each season in which we pass has challenges all its own. I may miss the Crayola days but I don't miss cleaning them off of the walls. I miss my mother quite terribly but I do not miss the family conflict at the time, dealing with a stepfather who had become very cruel...having to explain why I was only blocks away and didn't "drop in" to see her. No...each season had its own very good times and challenges...for such is life.

I look at time this is a journey on a train that has a set departure and arrival times (it's the Presbyterian left in me). God knows the day of our birth and our home coming. The train will travel through marvelous fields of flowers, over the peeks of mountains, through the valley and over the water, through tunnels so dark we cannot see our hand in front of us, beside glorious sunrises and sunsets whose colors take our breath away, and near the destination...the train slows down as we come into view of the depot.

However, it is completely up to us on what kind of train we choose to travel. Will it be a fast moving passenger train or a slow locomotive that is full of smoke...dull and dreary. Perhaps it will seem at the end of our life that we have been traveling on a very fast monorail type of train that is sleek and modern.

As for me, I choose to travel in a vintage train from an Agatha Christie novel (without the murders), with a beautiful sleeping berth and a dining car where I can have tea with my fellow travelers. One cannot stop the train or even slow it down. However, one can learn to enjoy the scenery and trust the beauty remains when one is traveling through the darkness of a tunnel.

As for the destination...

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him
I Corinthians 2:9

Posted a little early this week. :)


Sandy said...

I can tell I'm going to love your blog already. I'm sorry I stole your song. It's one of my favorites and I couldn't resist putting it on my blog.

The feathered nest said...

Lovely post, Brenda. I too miss those early years of homeschooling when my daughter and I would read and discover together. She is now in public high school. Her choice. A few more years and she'll be finished with HS, another chapter closes and new one opens!


smilnsigh said...

I have gotten behind here {and all over pretty blog land}, because I set my back off again. I used 'it' for too long, in a way 'it' complained about... and I didn't listen to 'it'. So it serves me right, that 'it' rebelled and is keeping me out of my computer chair a lot.

But anyway... to here in this entry... I never knew you lived in Holland! When? Where? How? What? And all the other natural questions. You just knew that you'd find me having opened the flood gates on questioning, with blogging this tid-bit of info, now didn't you? -gigggles-

Our only experience with Holland was years ago, we spent wonderful days in Amsterdam. My husband loves Rembrandt and that explains that. :-) The people were soooooooo wonderful to us!! A lovely experience! Every time I see anyone on the Net, who is in Amsterdam, I thank them for the lovely welcome we got, way back then.

Only other European experience I've had was our 40th Wedding Ann present... He gave me my long wanted time in Paris. In '99 in the Spring. And that was heavenly too. Glad we went then. I'd not go now.

But if you lived in Holland, you must have traveled more extensively in Europe. Oh you simply *have* to do lots of posting, allllll about this experience!!!! You *have* to now. Now that you 'let the cat out of the bag,' with me. ,-)


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I get that all the time. Sorry, I forgot to put the state!

I lived in Holland, Michigan!

Adrienne said...

Brenda - Once again you have put down some of my recent thoughts. It seems we are moving at break-neck pace through the seasons of life where we are right now. But we are enjoying them - for the most part - and will treasure the memories when we look back one day and recall these days. Thanks for sharing from your heart to mine.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, I am getting oh so close. Started with a house full of children ( 6 )and only one (almost 16) left. I agree with you totally sorry to see some good times go but at peace to see the new things that come. But when did it happen. Totally off post, you must be like the best baker in the whole world!!! I made the cowboy cookies from your other blog and EVERY person that has tried them has gone crazy. I have a question though, you said about 4 dozen cookies. I got 6 1/2 dozen! I used a cookie scoop( the one from Pampered Chef). Don't get me wrong because I am thrilled I got so many and so are the people that I have shared them with. I bake and cook all the time so I know these are awesome. Can't wait to try your other recipes! Thanks again, Maryellen

Morning Glory said...

This was brilliant and so very eloquently put. I find myself in the same type of reflections these days. We've been empty nesters for 10 years now since our youngest got married, and the older I get, the more I look back in time and realize that I wouldn't want to be anywhere but now.

I would definitely join you on that Agatha Christie train!

Anonymous said...

< I will teach Government and Economics. >

What will you be using for these?
Love the train analogy, btw. :)

Mindy said...

I always enjoy your posts so me much to think about and ponder! This post was terrific! I am with you in choosing the vintage train!! Taking its time and gently moving along...we are very much kindred spirits!!
Blessings to you..

Susie Q said...

Your posts are always so eloquent and give me something to ponder deeply.
I do love the vintage train idea...
One door closes and another will open...


Lallee said...

I agree with you in regard to probably looking at the past through a filter. I have very fond memories of the past growing up and then raising my own children. Now I am enjoying empty nest and I'm happy to be in this season. It's the Agatha Christie train for me, too, going fast enough to get somewhere but slow enough to enjoy the present and people in my life now. It's such a temptation to long for the past or rush out of tunnels and miss what God is doing today.