Back to School Musings

There are two times during the year which are generally regarded as times of new beginnings. The first is obvious. At the beginning of the calendar year, people tend to look at their lives and decide what they either need to stop doing or what they want to start doing better. Then, they make resolutions and do their best to follow them. Sometimes, it works, and sometimes, the will to try is lost. The second time is when school begins again after summer vacations. In this scenario, children and adults of all ages are starting a new year of academic learning reflecting their age and how far they’ve come in academic achievement. Everything is new–their classrooms, their teachers, the people they’re learning with, and what they’re learning about. It’s a time of new beginnings.

Over my years as an adult, I’ve also used the beginning of school as a time of new beginnings for my own life. I was homeschooling my children so it was a natural fit, but there were also things not related to my children that I wanted to try and do differently. So, I also used this time as a new beginning.

This year though things have been different. I don’t feel like I can use this period as a new beginning anymore because my adult children are done with this stage. The older one has graduated from college, and the younger one is starting something not quite as traditional as what he did last year. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, of course, but it’s made me realize that our days of following a traditional school schedule are over. It’s given me a funny feeling which is hard to explain. It’s like there’s a distance between me now and the people who are still in this stage. It’s like I’m supposed to wish for something neither of my sons is ready for yet. (grandchildren) Many people in society look at this empty nest stage as a stage where women are supposed to go find themselves and not expect stability until grandchildren have arrived. Or they think women who are in this phase should be willing to impart their “wisdom” (not that anyone listens to me anyway) to the generation of mothers behind them.

But neither of those fit where I am right now. I thought about it some more to see if I could come up with a solution, and I realized that God had already given me one. He gives us an option to start anew every day which has nothing to do with any particular part of the calendar. Don’t believe me? It says so in the Bible, specifically in Lamentations 3:22-23. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” According to this, God has established every day as a new beginning. We have another chance to try again. So, this is what I will think of when I feel odd during back to school time. My God is a God of grace who is always willing to let me start again. I hope we can all think of God as a God of new beginnings.

God bless you all!

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