I don’t usually write “Response” posts to things that are immediately happening in my life, but I’m going to today.
Maybe because my filter has been rubbed thin by the weight of my own pain.
Maybe because this is an issue that I struggle with myself.
But here it goes.
I started homeschooling last week. Today is actually our 5th day of homeschooling.
And it sucks.
I hate it.
I may not hate it in the future but I hate it now. #TrueConfessions
It is 2:10pm and we are done for today (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing a blog post) and we completed our whole day of school, which included Math, Language Arts, Science, Writing, Handwriting, and Reading aloud.
But at 10am, when we took our 30 minute morning break, I wanted to just crawl in bed and cry.
Since I have no adults to talk to during the day, I posted this FB status:
This status was borne purely out of desperation. What I wanted and needed at that moment was encouragement, sympathy, and prayers.
And I got all three from many, many friends. Thank you.
I also got a ton of advice comments from people: books I should read, new curriculum I look into, friends telling me how I should feel or not feel, etc.
Everyone meant well (except for the people who started a debate about unschooling in a thread. Yes. This happened. Help me, Jesus.).
Everyone meant well, and I’m grateful.
But the advice.
All the advice made me feel more overwhelmed because here were ALL THE THINGS I need to TRY, DO, READ, FEEL, and NOT FEEL!
The advice just reminded me that I am not good enough because clearly, I need to do something different and then things would be better/easier/less stressful.
I do this too. All the time.
I want to fix things for my loved ones and friends.
When my 5 year old son is crying, I want to help him feel better and STOP CRYING so I do ALL THE THINGS to try to help him stop.
When my 10 year old is upset about his day, I ask him “Well, did you try this? Or this? You should have done that!”
It’s our human nature to give advice, to strive to make it better, to fix the pain in any way possible.
It’s really, really hard to sit with someone in their pain, to hug without words, to weep with someone who is weeping, to soothe without platitudes or proverbs or to-do lists.
One of my friends urged me to give myself grace, which is a beautiful reminder that I often give to my other mom friends.
But I was struck by a new truth today as I struggled with my own frustration, limitations, helplessness and impatience in this new homeschooling venture: When you are in pain, it is difficult (if not impossible) to give grace to yourself.
That’s why we look for it outside of ourselves: in God, in others.
We need that free gift of tender mercy that soothes the ragged edges of our failures and builds us back up again to try again and again.
It’s easy to be an advice-giver.
It’s much more difficult to be a grace-giver.
But when we have received grace, we know what that feels like. May we take that gift and share it with others who are in pain in the future, striving to weep with those who weep, seeking to encourage instead of fix.