I believe that God honors our questions just as my dad honored mine. I believe that God stays with us, even when prayers and songs seem flimsy as paper angels. I believe that it helps to leave the hall light on when the questions come faster than morning. And I keep asking those questions because somewhere in the asking I find I am not answered but I am heard.
180 days. Four hours of instructional time per day. These are the only requirements dictated by the state of Tennessee. I was free to use curriculum or not to use curriculum. I could test or not. Unschooling appealed to me because it felt more sustainable; without a rigid plan I would be less likely to burn out. Even if it didn’t work, one year of unschooling wouldn’t kill us. And maybe it would be exactly what we needed to recalibrate and de-stress.
The watering came in unexpected ways. Sometimes the Lord’s refreshing comes through a change of scenery — the resting place of a vacation, a Sabbath day of ceasing our worry and work, a retreat at Laity Lodge. Sometimes it comes through a change of countenance — we are literally righted from the inside out, brought to clarity, given new perspective and strength. Sometimes we’re made compassionate again, given a new imagination and concern for people’s needs, or a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.
For me, the empty pages tell the story of my life becoming occupied with things I never suspected would lead me from the corner booth at the coffee shop into the consuming risk and mess and joy and inertia of marrying a woman who beckons me out of isolation, of raising four beautiful and uniquely complex children, of moving from one city to another, of living in a community, and of following a vocation which, ironically, involves more writing than ever.
Most days of the year, I wear worn blue jeans, a soft grey T-shirt, and old tennis shoes — a sharp contrast to my derby attire. I like grey: it suits my personality and my desire to keep things safe and simple. But looking back on my collective experiences, I recognize there is a hot-pink narrative thread that runs throughout my story, stringing together all of the things that thrill me most in this world. It connects me to an adventure that is more exciting than one I have envisioned for myself.