It doesn’t show the fear that ‘I’m not doing enough formal schoolwork’ like other people seem to be doing, with schedules and apps that I’m struggling to even download properly. Or what the teachers will think of our alternative curriculum of tractor racing, den building and cookery this week. My skin too, is dry and sore from so much hand-washing. And I am so sorry for the times when I’ve been short tempered with the children because of the requests that are coming too thick and fast, and I don’t have the headspace to think straight.
The carrots you see us scrubbing in the video seemed to carry a message for me this week. They were last season’s old carrots, the tops nibbled by mice, and smothered in weeds they had lain forgotten in the soil all this winter. I felt such joy when I came across them while digging deep in the soil, and we relished them as our fresh food from the shops ran low.
It feels like despite the fear and uncertainty, God is prompting me to look for long forgotten joys that may have been ‘nibbled’ off by other people or smothered by the frantic pace of life.
When Mark and I were first married, we loved the dream of self-sufficiency. 19 years and 3 children later we have found ourselves producing less and less in our garden as we hurtled through life as the children got older, doing more and more scouting, school, sport and church activities. Never has growing our own food in our garden felt more important as it does now, and it feels good to have this dream re-birthed in us.
Although I am fearful for elderly parents far away, worried about when and where to go out for essentials, sad for those suffering, and in awe of the efforts of the people in the NHS, I am also feeling like we have the opportunity to rediscover some important things and a simpler way of life, like discovering the long forgotten carrots. The main road next to us is quietening and we can hear the birdsong again in the mornings. Air pollution around the world is clearing. I don’t know what comes next each morning, but I am trying to hold onto the basics of Faith, Hope and God’s Love.
Tracy did a beautiful piece on listening to God on Freedom Kids Fridays this week. I’ve been pondering what other things besides carrots does God want me to look out for, listen for, and find again during this time.
Mr Lambert, the wise Headteacher of Nathaniel’s primary school, sent an email to us all which said, ‘What our children need now is to feel comforted and loved…so play outside, bake biscuits and paint pictures, play board games, watch movies, and read together. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing. At the end of all this, their mental health will be far more important than their academic skills. How they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during these weeks is gone.’
So, I am not going to worry that my home-schooling and parenting is not perfect. Or that our house is untidy, or that I’m behind with the paperwork. We are going to keep planting in our garden and our souls, and I am going to try to enjoy this precious time despite the tiredness and worry. Bless you all and hope you find some precious forgotten things in your lives.