This year I'm home. I wake in the morning when I've rolled over enough, and I go to bed at night with the owls, if I like. I'm home for three meals a day. I'm spending more time with my kids, cooking more, taking walks in my neighborhood, playing with my dogs, and kissing my husband at odd times of the day.
And my stress is way down, in spite of the fact that we have only part-time employment, and it's temporary at that.
I've pondered a bit on my departure from the school classroom, because I do dearly love teaching. I feel a pang in the heart when I think of not teaching American literature next year. I've taught American lit every year that I've taught school. How will I live without my yearly study of Dickinson? And will I keep sharp as a literary analyst, without the daily rigor of teaching?
And when I ask those questions, I know I'm drifting away from home.
Over the years, people let go of many things. They let go of dreams, and feel sad when they do. But dreams can't all become reality. I never became a concert pianist; I couldn't make myself keep practicing 3 hours a day, sadly, after college. I never became a famous singer, and each time I lapse from singing in a group, my range drops.
I also never: became a Miss America, became a great ice skater, or a model, or a college professor, a missionary or ...
a published writer. Sigh.
But I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a homemaker.
When I was in the classroom every day, I had to "make" my home in a few, spare minutes each day. I snapped at my children, scowled at my husband, gave the house a "lick and a promise" (as my mother says), and barely -- only barely -- got the minimal amount of housework done each week. The house, our home, sat empty most of our waking hours.
Home wasn't a place to enjoy. It was a place to barely catch my breath before I had to go back and do it all again tomorrow morning.
This year, I'm at home. I like my home, and I love being here with my family. Life is slower, and having less money ensures that it will remain slower.
Sometimes we choose the right thing because we know it's right. Sometimes we choose it because God leaves us no other options. Unfortunately, I'm usually in that second category. But I'm thankful God put me home this year. Because when this brief life of rat-chasing-tail is over, and I'm on a New Earth eternally, I don't think I'll be waking up at 5:45 every morning and dashing to a job for 8 or 9 hours. I'll have eternity to do all I want to do, and go where I want to go, and there will be no unnecessary dashing.
Why be in a panic when you have eternity, and God to take care of you?
I'm becoming convinced that the peaceful people in this world live as if they already have eternity, and are not in a dead race against time. Being at home this year has helped me toward that attitude.
Here's a lovely article on this stay-at-home topic, written by one of my favorite online people, Lanier Ivester. And here's Lanier's lovely blog.