My year of less is more: what happens when the amount of 'less' goes out of my control?
Earlier this year when I started my Year of Less is More, I was anticipating lots of time for thinking by myself, coffees with friends, time to reorder my house, extra time for the kids. I wanted my idea of 'less' to enrich our life, to bring 'more' to our lives. And to a certain extent, slashing our schedule to almost irresponsible parenting levels has resulted in many positive outcomes.
But as I mentioned in an earlier post our daughter has been very unwell. For six weeks she's been at home. Every week we tell people that 'We're hoping she can make some part of the school day next week'. And then another week sort of slips by and our doctor isn't confident yet that she's up for it. She's certainly improving, which is enormously encouraging. But as the weeks have ticked by, her life has slowly been reduced to waking at 9am to eat breakfast watching the previous night's episode of 'The Block', followed by Minecraft on the iPad, followed by a few episodes of 'I dream of Jeannie' and another reread of 'Harry Potter'. All things that she finds easy at the moment.
It's amazing how the goalposts for the year have shifted so enormously. She started the year so excited about Year 6. She's our kid who is into everything. She had been voted school captain at the end of last year, been accepted into a State wind orchestra, had started studying for the selective schools test (test to get into government high schools for gifted and talented (and, ahem, well-tutored) kids), was representing the school in softball, chosen for the debating team, playing tennis on Saturdays. I'm not meaning to brag - she's just a kid who loves being involved in stuff and she makes the most of the opportunities that come her way.
Now we face this test tomorrow just praying that she'll last the day, let alone get a good mark. And then we'd just like her to be able to get to some part of the school day next week. Last week she went to school for a couple of hours to be in the school photos and it took her 48 hours to recover. I can't quite get my head around how her life has been turned upside down by this virus. Talk about 'less'. How about 'almost nothing'?
I would like to say that I felt super calm, peaceful and full of the love of God through this time. In reality I have carried a sick feeling in my stomach for a lot of the time because of the anxiety and the uncertainty about her recovery time. I have been totally dependent on the prayers of others because sometimes my own inability to focus has made praying hard.
What has helped me enormously is an unwavering trust that God is good and he is sovereign and he is wise. Just the boring old basics I know, but so vital. Sure things are certainly not playing out the way we envisaged. But I have no doubt that God will provide what is good for her. Maybe not my paltry perception of what is good, but His true and perfect and wise good.
It has been so interesting to reflect on the way God has prepared my heart for these past few months. Desperate to get off the extracurricular rat race, I was hurling things off the side like a mad woman. It enabled me to step back and reflect on what I was achieving with my kids by pushing so hard. But then having a child who I would just love to see be able to attend school (because she loves it, not because I want to have coffee!), has made me ponder even more deeply what I was trying to achieve with Project Parenting. I've been forced to step off the high achieving mum track, more than even I'd planned, and you know, I keep wondering how I let myself get there in the first place.