Homeschooling can be a lonely business. At times we home school mothers experience isolation so acutely that we feel derailed, lost, sidetracked. This is a weird phenomenon given the fact that we are with our children all day each and every day- well, most days.
Many factors contribute to loneliness, and each mother has a different set of circumstances and a different list of needs. What we do share is the need for true connection and friendship. If we perceive that this need is not being met, our days can take on a sort of depressive gloom that trips us up -the heart occupied with a nagging sadness is heavy, and this contributes to an overall sense of loneliness.
I cannot say that I have found the answer to this problem. Maybe its not a problem that must be solved, but a reality that must be understood. It’s strange how we can have wonderful friends, and still feel lonely- disconnected. We may have a Church family, a great mother, a spiritual father, an attentive and sweet husband- and yet, there is this disconnect. This makes me wonder about the monastic nature of homeschooling- how spending my days away from the madding crowd is a much bigger spiritual struggle than I give credit. Whether I understand why or how, the fact remains that I deal with loneliness.
We are very afraid of loneliness…we are especially afraid when our children experience loneliness. It’s hard-the hardest thing I do as a homeschool mother of five, and some days I give into the schemes, the plans, the frenzy of a mind panicked.
I will it not to be so.
I am not very good at manufacturing happiness. I’ve tried-boy, have I tried. I’ve tried so hard that there was no space left on the calendar, no wiggle room, no chance for loneliness to sidetrack our happiness. In the end this happiness was about as one dimensional as the wall calendar it was written on. It took mom and children to the brink…and we dangled there for awhile until finally- I came undone.
Because facing fear is about coming undone…it’s about unclinching the fist and opening up to the possibility that even if everything I fear comes upon me I am still held, I am still loved, I remain, we remain.
Deep and abiding fulfillment takes courage.
The courage to live it.
And homeschooling will stretch this courage very thin. I imagine that many of life’s circumstances stretch our courage thin. We all fear being alone.
We praise thee, the Mediatress for the salvation of our race, O Virgin Theotokos; for in the flesh taken from thee, thy Son and our God hath deigned to endure the Passion through the Cross, and hath redeemed us from corruption, since He is the Friend of man.
~ Hymns of the Resurrection
Mediatress teach us your self giving love. Make us worthy to receive your gifts and to know your abiding friendship. O Friend of man, make us worthy of your friendship and worthy of the friendship you give us in those precious souls here and now. Help us endure the loneliness that comes from our own sin, and help us to know your mercy. For Thou art good and lovest mankind.