Finding life by the riverside.

No one warned me that getting a puppy and starting homeschooling in the same month would quite possibly be the death of me.

We are all exhausted from this little fellow who wakes up in the middle of the night and takes forever to do his business outside but does it only too quickly on the kitchen floor.  The kids are adjusting to homeschooling as am I. Spending so much time with each other has its ups and downs.  On days like this, my frazzled nerves have gotten the better of me and I wonder if I’m going to make it through the day, let alone the year. And so we walk.

We make the trek to our favourite spot on the river, walking past older cottage-like homes on sleepy tree-lined streets.  I always feel like I’ve stepped back in time when I walk through this neighbourhood. It’s wonderful.   As we walk, we recite the geography songs and Scripture verses we are trying to memorize and we grumble through the Rosary. Lord, forgive us!

Our pilgrimage ends daily at the old boat launch.  The puppy sniffs about in the tall, reedy grasses and the kids climb along the rocks that act as a breaker along the shore. They scour the pebbly beach for good skipping stones and set to work on their water-skimming skills.

This morning as I stood at the water’s edge, little waves lapping up gently at my feet, I took in the scene: four kids filled with the simple joy that only comes with forgetting yourself in nature, and a curious little puppy discovering a strange new world and my heart surged with love and hope for them and my mind turned to prayer.

Lord, make my kids resilient. Give me the grace to be resilient myself; to preserve in bringing up and shaping these children whom You’ve entrusted to me the way You desire.  Don’t let them be crippled by a fear of failure like I’ve always been.  Give them the grace to be courageous, to fearlessly follow You wherever You lead them, to place all their trust in Your goodness.

Lord, let them feel cherished. Let their father and I fill them with the experiential knowledge of how precious they are in Your sight — as they are in ours.  Let them be quick to forget our failings and let them be slow to forget our love for them.  Let them build their identities on the rock which is Your steadfast love. Therein lies the secret to resilience, perseverance, hope. Let this perfect love from You brim up in them and overflow into the lives of their siblings.

Lord, make their hearts’ greatest desire be to become saints. Let them know there is no greater joy than to know You and love You and abide with You forever.

Lord, cover the gaps in what I can give them, perfect my broken offering born of weakness. Thank you for the grace of being their mother, their guardian, Your vicar here on earth.  Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of faith that You have bestowed on us,    for eyes to see that Your hand is upon us and that You are always near us in our messy, imperfect lives.

I lead the troops back home with a wet puppy, relaxed shoulders, and the resolve to keep on with our day.  Nothing materially had changed and yet we are renewed by this immersion in His creation and this time in prayer.   I return to my day, grateful to my heavenly Father for this infusion of life into this day, for this little glimpse of how God truly does make all things work together for the good of those who love Him, and confident in the hope that is life in Him.