My daughter began her High School work this year. She’s still homeschooled but now she has a fixed curriculum and reports to a teacher for each subject. We figured this was the best way to build her transcript and hopefully her study habits for college. I knew it would be a bit rough at the start, she’s been fairly on her own where things are concerned for the last 8 years more or less. We’ve had curriculums but our method was more along the lines of following her interests, helping her discover what she liked to learn, what she wanted to pursue. She’s kind of a rock star, frankly. I think she’s brilliant, but then, I’m her mother.
So the teachers have been great. It’s been good to have another authority where these things are concerned. I’m a little ditzy and a lot lenient. I’m disorganized and lose track of things more than I care to admit. This has been good for us both and it’s been rough. I have had to undertake a new role, one I don’t like very much, “the nag.” I have ot ask about her assignments, I help her with the work she can’t get through on her own, I have to keep track of things now. Ultimately she is the one responsible for the grade, it is her work. Ultimately, I’ll have to trust that she’ll do what needs doing. In the transitional time though, I have to help her with this and it looks like I’m nagging and I hate it.
Today as I considered becoming Orthodox I was struck with a sudden sense of shame and guilt. It’s familiar, I took it on without much thought. I wanted to attend Liturgy for the blessing of the waters recently but it slipped by me. Then I had told Father J that I would see him at a chrismation service after Vespers on another occasion and I skipped it. I was so exhausted I felt as though my face was melting off. The shame comes from me, from feeling that no matter how much I know I need to cut myself slack I am certain I’ll always be failing where faith practices are concerned.
This is the part where you say, “Listen, you have 4 children and have just moved and are new to the practice and…..” all those really wonderful and encouraging things I know you would say if you were here with me in person. Thank you. I’ll take that. I need the encouragement.
And also, this is a transition time and there is a place for maybe a little bit of nagging….or oversight, perhaps. The thing that strikes me about Orthodoxy is the reminder that this entire life is a time of transition- we’re always learning how to learn something new and sometimes we do fail. It’s alright that when I met with Father J this week he chided me a little about not staying for “coffee hour” when I’ve been to Liturgy lately. He was very clear that this is important, that this journey isn’t solitary but communal. I fell back to my old, safe, position of social anxiety and he nodded then said, “you have to do it anyway.” I suppose I agree, even though I hate it.
My prayer during this most current time of transition is one of hope, hope that I won’t continue to default to shame or guilt when my chaotic life goes up against practice, prayer that I will press through the uncomfortable parts of becoming Orthodox to find lasting benefit that will only come with time and patience.