7 Persisting Takes

7 Persisting Takes September 20, 2019

These three, though, I never tire of, NEVER. 


One of the main problems with homeschooling—and this is the problem with having a lot of kids in general—is that after you do something once, it’s hard to be like, ‘Yay! Let’s do it again!’ The first time is filled with the delight of discovery, the anxiety of not knowing exactly what you’re doing, the thrill of occasional success. You watch your children grow and realize it’s all going to be fine and that’s great.


Then you look at your two youngest children and realize you basically know what you’re doing, you’ve read all the books, you’re going to read them again, you know what’s required, all you have to do is do it.

If I were my husband, this would be great, because he loves doing the same thing over and over without variation. He would happily eat the same three meals a day, never altering a single ingredient or cooking time. Every Thursday, for instance, he roasts chicken. It is always delicious, perfectly cooked, and there you are, you are always happy. When it’s my turn to cook, if I’ve made whatever it is in the last six weeks, I can’t possibly make it again. The thought fills me with a nameless dread. The knowledge that the best thing would be to work through all the books one time again is contrary to my nature. I should throw them all away and start fresh.


Except that would be ridiculous and bad because it took me a long time to figure out what worked. So throwing it all away out of boredom would be the height of folly. This is why you can be grateful I’m not a school teacher.


The thing is, the two younger children have been looking forward to all these books, having seen the older children work through them. They have the pleasure of anticipation, of having finally arrived.


Can you imagine if I were a god? Creating worlds every few minutes just for the sake of my own amusement? I wonder what it is like for God to listen to the same tired anxieties over and over and over again. I would tell humanity to zip it, like Phil Hartman trying to explain to Sally Fields that he wishes she would stop praying. Is that why Jesus paints such angsty pictures of prayer—the unjust judge, the insistent friend, the father being asked for bread by his son? Is it on his account, or mine?


All the psalms indicate that it is on my account. The repetitious cry, “Has God forgotten to be gracious, and will he withhold his loving-kindness in displeasure?” is always resolved by, “You are the God who does wonders, and have declared your power among the people.” The page pours forth a steady quenching stream of remembrance, a solid rock of What-Works-Every-Time rather than Let’s-Try-Something-Different-And-See-If-It-Sparkles.


Indeed, the new things that we invent are usually very bad for us—like apologizing to plants in a chapel service, or a new and faster iPhone, or a yet more instantaneous way to communicate. The upward march of progress always seems to circle tightly back around toward destruction.

Well, as I saw on a bumper sticker yesterday, “Not today, Satan, not today.” I’m gonna do the same old thing and it’s going to be fantastic.

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