Friday, April 11, 2014

I Can't Believe This

My School days have been good. No, more than that, they were special. I was privileged to have parents who didn't just see "education" as numbers and letters in a textbook, or a GPA on a page. They looked at my potentials, saw my weakness, lifted me up before God, and did their best to prepare me for the work He had for me to do in life. In short: they were, and are, amazing.

As in everyone's school years, though, there were days when I would look up from my torturous math book, and stare off into space. Drowning in self-pity, I would try to imagine how it would feel to be done with school forever - Confident? Free? Exultant? Every eye turned approvingly in my direction as I received the coveted diploma. What would I do next? The choices were all mine now.

This morning I woke slowly, and lay still, like I normally do, trying to grasp at reality with a groggy, slow-wakening mind. While reluctantly losing ground on the ambition of going back to sleep, a fact repeated itself a few times in my head. "Today is your last day of school."

It's taken all day for reality to sink in. I didn't believe it when Mom asked "So how does it feel?" or when a friend called and gave her congratulations. Numbly, I walked through the day, unable to quite understand it all.

To some, school is "school." Boring. Meaningless. For me, as a homeschooler, life revolved around it - a struggle to achieve every day, a feeling of success we made it through. It forever challenged me to reach farther than the realm of my comfort zone - and I needed it. Really, if there were an all-important list of lessons that I could pinpoint as "most meaningful" from this journey, perseverance would be pretty close to the top.

The other day Mom and I were folding laundry in the basement. Grabbing a clean wash cloth out of the basket, I straightened. "Mom, didn't you ever feel like giving up?"

She had a calm, grim look on her face as she answered, "Yes. But you just keep going."

Yes. Keep going: when I couldn't read one more phonics page, when Mom and I cried over decimals together, when certain learning strategies were impossible, when the schedule was full, and energy was "empty." We prayed, we cried and we kept going. Somehow, we made it.

Sitting here, still dazed and unable to fathom what just happened, I feel incredibly in awe of all the grace I've been shown. Grace from my parents - when they didn't know what to do with me. Grace from God - that held all three of us and became my tie-post.

See, our homeschool wasn't "normal." (In fact, "normal" has had almost no play in any part of my life.) It had a huge, emphasis on the three R's - but it had a deeper focus on salvation and character. I remember times when Mom would just stop everything she was doing, sit down, and start praying. She got results. Dad got results. That was one of the first things that sparked a question about my walk with God - what about my prayers? Would they get results?

Ultimately, our school had very little to do with us and what was "comfortable." It had nothing to do with Mom and Dad wanting us to make a better academic performance than other kids. It had everything to do with raising us in the admonition of Christ. It wasn't easy, it wasn't all fun and games, (although there was a great deal of that, too) and, sometimes, it was downright hard. In spite of it all, they prayed me through - and that's why I am who I am today. Providence.

Mom and Dad, I just want to say thank you, so much. Nobody will ever know how much your encouragement, guidance and patience have molded my life. There's not words to express how thankful I am that you kept going when I was impossible. Thank you for being such Godly examples for me and leading me to Christ. I love you both.

Always your little girl,


Anna said...

@Alisha Ann

Woo-hoo! Congrats on finishing - it's a crazy feeling, isn't it?!

(Sorry. I thought I hit "publish" but, apparently, clicked "delete" by mistake. :P)

Bethany said...

Congratulations!!! You did it! I'm completely relieved that you still maintained your sanity and haven't broken down into a sentimental mess. . .I'm thoroughly dreading graduation day because I'll positively use every Kleenex in the house. But you give me hope that graduating can be normal. :)

And that last picture is adorable, FYI.