This has been one of those weeks. Things happen, and usually many things happen at once, not all of them pleasant. That’s why it was so encouraging to wake up this morning and read these words. I wanted to share them with you.
This is fitting to begin with:
There is never a series of little packages of time given to you in life labeled: Time for an illness, time for a wedding, time for a death, time for a broken leg…time for a disappointment. You can’t face the sickness, the operations, the broken arms and legs, the serious diseases, the disasters, or even the headaches, unless you realize there is never a convenient time set aside for joy or sorrow, protected by neat little walls so that the two things will not mingle and spoil each other…
…We need to remember, as finite, limited human beings, that we cannot care perfectly for others’ needs, nor can others care perfectly for our needs, even when we or they want to. Life has to go on, and we can only do the best we can in the melange, the mixed-up nature of what there is to be done. There are no protected, neat little boxes of time which will not be invaded by a mixture of demands upon us. Life is not like that. It is another case of the danger of demanding “perfection or nothing” and ending up with nothing.
Comfort yourself by saying, ‘I am limited, I am finite, I can only do one thing at a time. I know what would be the perfect care for this person, but I can’t do it all. I’ll give as much of the ideal care as possible.’ As a Christian, you can also pray for God’s wisdom in the choices to be made and God’s strength to be made perfect in your weakness.
-Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?
I finished Charlotte Mason’s first volume this morning. What an incredible book. I wish every mother could read it, no matter how she chooses to educate her children.
The wonder that Almighty God can endure so far to leave the very making of an immortal being in the hands of human parents is only matched by the wonder that human parents can accept this divine trust with hardly a thought of it’s significance.
So, there’s that. And then this:
But this holy mystery, this union and communion of God and the soul, how may human parents presume to meddle with it? What can they do? How can they promote it? And is there not every risk that they may [rudely harm it]?
In the first place, it does not rest with the parent to choose whether he will or will not attempt to quicken and nourish this divine life in his child. To do so is his bounden duty and service. If he neglect or fail in this, I am not sure how much it matters that he has fulfilled his duties in the physical, moral, and mental culture of his child, except in so far as the child is the fitter for the divine service should the divine life be awakened in him.
But what can the parent do? Just this and no more: he can present the idea of God to the soul of the child. Here, as throughout His universe, Almighty God works by apparently inadequate means…
…The parent must not make blundering, witless efforts: as this is the highest duty imposed upon him, it is also the most delicate; and he will have infinite need of faith and prayer, tact and discretion, humility, gentleness, love and sound judgement, if he would present his child to God, and the thought of God to the soul of his child.
-Charlotte Mason, Vol 1 (emphasis mine)
Such short quotes from me today…
Then I read a chapter that Alyssa and I are reading and discussing from Ourselves, Charlotte’s fourth volume. The section this week was on thinking and speaking truthfully, as well as the issue of envy.
We must keep our tongues from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering; Wesley says that to speak evil of another when it is true is to slander, when it is false, is to lie.
Most persons are careful to cherish Truth in all they say about the people in their own homes, but how many of us are equally careful in speaking of people who live next door or in the next street? It is so easy to say that Jones is a sneak, and Brown is a cad…that Mrs. Brown overdresses her children; and Harrison does not [work hard].
Such things as these about the people we have dealings with, are lightly said, often without intention; but two things have happened-our neighbor’s character has received a wound; and Truth, perhaps the most beautiful [quality], has also received a hurt at our hands.
Ouch. And for more of an ouch, the section on envy…
Envy of others always takes the guise of fairness and justice to ourselves.
Envy is an ever-present demon, ready with a calumnious word for those who excel us. If they dance better, ‘we’ do not care about dancing, and they must waste a great deal of time upon it. If they dress better, it is because they spend far too much money and thought on their clothes…
[Long ago] people were afraid of envy…now we forget that there is such a vice; and when we allow ourselves in grudging thoughts about the possessions or advantages of others, we say ‘it’s not fair’…we cover our injustice to others with a mantle of what we call justice and fairness to ourselves. But we deceive ourselves, and every sin of deceit disables us from uttering truth.
-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves