Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pondering Punctilious Problems

First Day of "School" 2014-2015

I don't know what brought "punctilious" to mind today. Perhaps it's how un-punctilious things have been.

We ventured on a vacation back home for two weeks. It was a whirlwind (tornado?) of visits through Oklahoma and Texas. We eased back into our routine of homeschool and co-op work, and now we're at full throttle busy.

I'm trying not to panic as we pursue the arts and sciences at four different grade levels. And there's the Sisyphean effort to keep a crawling, curious baby out of trouble. And yet it all blows my mind away that I should be so blessed and so trusted.

Since "punctilious" won't leave me alone, and since I'm anything but, I wrote a story:

Peter the Punctilious Puffin wanted a life in which he had a rule for everything. No problem could not be elucidated and solved. He simply had to be perfect and thence perfect the world around him.

Then one day, he met Portia the Not-So-Placid Penguin. She was a widow with a passel of kids. She was a mess, but he loved her. At first, he tried to change her by being stern.Then he tried just joining in her mess. But being stern or being lackadaisical only resulted in misery. So then he realized, he had to choose. He had to either accept her and all those kids as they were and choose to love them every day, or he had to quit seeing her.

He thought hard about it. He liked being punctilious, but he came to realize it was not a panacea. To live with his love Portia, he had to live every day, one day at a time. He still had to set goals, but he had to be willing to lay them aside. He also had to have perseverance which was more difficult to pursue in a life less punctilious. Not only that, but he had to learn to not let a bad morning set the tone for the day. Or to make unrealistic expectations just because one day had been spectacularly smooth.

After a time, he found that Portia and her kids were really not that messy after all. Rather, he needed to grow. He thought he had it all figured out, only he was exhausted. To make choices in each present moment of life, no matter what that moment threw at him or how he felt was neverending. Being just a puffin, it wasn't long until he found this extremely onerous. He was wearing himself out with all this ever present living.

Then one day Grace the Sagacious Swan saw him reflecting by the pond.

"Why so glum?" She asked the perplexed Peter the Punctilious.

"I know what to do, but it wears me out."

"Maybe you're doing too much?"

"Maybe I should quit?"

"Maybe you need peace?"

"How do I get peace?"

"Know you are not God, and trust Who is."

"Ah" said Peter. "That is wise."

He went back to Portia and the passel of kids, knowing that he was not God and trusting the One who is. And the peace that brought made all the difference in the constant messiness and choices of life.

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