How ’bout some Takes. Let’s see if we can get all the way to seven.
This is kind of what my day felt like yesterday. All those people who school year around, who calmly carry on, day after day, week after week, taking days off as they need them but never deviating from the ordered, quiet business of learning, have got to be the ones that are inheriting the kingdom of God, or at least the kingdom of a sound mind. Those of us who stop for a long stretch in the summer are the boobs and the knaves, the ones who should have their heads examined.
The nice long break, which I really needed, produced a gaggle of kids who couldn’t apparently remember that I have a severe and unresolvable noise allergy. You cannot, and I know this is a bizarre circumstance, come right up next to my ear and shout really loud and expect me to react kindly. It’s weird, I know. But everyone has their peculiar failing.
Two mornings of only trying to concentrate for the life span of a flea produced a frenzy of shouting and bashing into all the walls and furniture. Just looking through the stack of books turned every one into a madman.
Where is all this energy when it is time to do dishes? Or put away laundry? That’s what I ask myself. And where will it be in two weeks when we actually have to do the work that the books embody?
We’re having a bit of a bat circumstance. I don’t like to use the word ‘infestation’ because that is alarmist, even if Matt flings it around with wild abandon. We keep having bats come in and fly around looking for a way out, which feels unhappily like the perfect icon for so many of the eventualities that life brings to pass.
The cats sit by and gaze at us, or rather Matt, as he shudders and then traps bat after bat and let’s them go. ‘Why do they just sit there, staring?’ He asks bitterly.
‘You can’t expect them to catch bats,’ I say, as gently as possible.
We could go on more deeply into this essential truth, but sometimes it’s better just to fall silent before the mysteries of the universe.
So Kon Mari thinks that, because of course, you shouldn’t keep any of books, unless they spark joy, which you can only discover Not By Opening Them Up To Read Them but by just holding them in your hands and seeing how they make you feel (I am only very slightly exaggerating here) but she also thinks that you shouldn’t have any paper.
Now, I don’t want to be unfair. She’s talking about the horrible paper that we accumulate as a result of being alive–bills, manuals, forms, warranties, etc. She made exceptions for paper that brings you joy, like cards or whatever that are meaningful to you. But I listened to this chapter while I was shoveling out my school room and…I mean, words fail me.There has to be a homeschool exception for this–or an educational one. Books and Paper, even paper that doesn’t spark joy and books that never will–are the Properties of Learning, as essential to the task as the child himself.
The problem with the Kon Mari way of tidying is that it makes you the center of the universe. And that just isn’t realistic, or virtuous.
Still, though, sometimes I do wish I were standing in a blank room looking at four plain white walls–that perfect French white color–with maybe a single chair standing graciously in the corner. I actually go an stand in that room a lot throughout the day, trying to escape from the clutter and noise.
The other place I go, when I can’t beat my mental way into that beautifully imaginary room, where sometimes there is a gray sea to be seen out one of the windows, not the hurricane sea that is about to bash the coast line in Texas, but a nice calming, enthralling one, is to the pasture of this ridiculous horse. I can just watch him prance around and that also does the trick pretty well.
To change subjects entirely, I would like to wish my own parents a very happy anniversary today, and Matt’s parents the same tomorrow. It is so remarkable to me that my parents have been married such a nice long time, as both their parents were before them. My dad’s parents have gotten to seventy years. And Matt’s parents will be at 50 years tomorrow. There’s a lot of sorrow out there in the world, and ugliness, and trouble, but unseen and unknown in the midst of it are people being faithful to each other, and to God, carrying on with their work without fanfare and acclaim. That’s true for single people too, who go on day after day in faithfulness, graciously and patiently enduring the work and trials of the Christian life. This fact is worth much rejoicing. Happy Anniversary!
Kelly doesn’t have any Takes herself this week because of the fabulous turn of events for her family, but lots of other people do and I’m sure you’ll want to go check them out. Pip pip.