I was so blessed this past weekend to spend time with my sister and friends learning and contemplating at the Great Homeschool Convention. In my shallow estimation, I thought all of my time spent there would be to bless my home school journey. You see, I still live with the mindset that life is segmented like subjects. If I'm going to a homeschool convention, what I learn will only apply to homeschool.
But life doesn't work that way...simple little boxes that don't overlap. Two words that were themes in the sessions I went to have taught me this more clearly in the last couple of days than ever before: harmony and home.
The Soul Longs for Harmony
It wasn't two hours after I arrived home from the convention when I received a call from my brother-in-law that no one wants to hear: "My family has been in a horrible wreck. I don't know what to do."
Sometimes you don't know the true definition until you experience the opposite. Discord had entered my soul. While returning home from picking up her daughter from babysitting, something she'd done countless times before, my sister was hit from behind by a car who was flying down the highway, under the influence. In a flash, her life was taken. Does this bring disharmony to your soul?
It doesn't take much of an imagination to think that this is a bad song, and make you want to change the channel. However simple songs with simple discordant moments aren't generally the characteristics of excellent music. Excellent music takes you on a journey through the anguishes of the soul and then resolves the discord by bringing you "home".
The Soul Longs for Home
In music, "home" is the resolution.
What brings resolution to the discord of inexplicable death. Bringing justice to her killer? While that sounds promising, it's not the end that resolves the issue. My relationship with my sister won't be restored by punishing another. I'm not saying that justice is wrong, but it won't fill my heart with joy. Restoration of relationship is what my soul longs for.
My sister tutored for Classical Conversations in the Challenge A program her daughter was in. In their last class, my niece told me that her mom looked each of the students in the eye, and said, "Do you know for sure that when you die you'll go to heaven? Because I do."
My sister's song has come to a beautiful resolution, but those she left behind are still waiting for our songs to come home, the glorious reuniting with our loved ones in Heaven. The music of our soul longs for home. While I am still a student seeking understanding to the deeper beauty that lies in songs built on the complexities of tragedy, grief, and loss, I am choosing to trust in the Song Writer.
My husband shared this poem with me as we walk this road together.
by George Herbert
When first thy sweet and gracious eye
Vouchsafed even in the midst of youth and night
To look upon me, who before did lie
Weltering in sin;
I felt a sugared strange delight,
Passing all cordials made by any art,
Bedew, embalm, and overrun my heart,
And take it in.
Since that time many a bitter storm
My soul hath felt, even able to destroy,
Had the malicious and ill-meaning harm
His swing and sway:
But still thy sweet original joy
Sprung from thine eye, did work within my soul,
And surging griefs, when they grew bold, control,
And got the day.
If thy first glance so powerful be,
A mirth but opened and sealed up again;
What wonders shall we feel, when we shall see
Thy full-eyed love.
When thou shalt look us out of pain,
And one aspect of thine spend in delight
More than a thousand suns disburse in light
In heaven above.
My sister is experiencing the joy of the full-eyed love of God that is true, good, and beautiful produces harmony of a song greater than the brilliance of a thousand suns, where pain is gone.
When my dad passed away all too soon, we were comforted by C.S. Lewis's ending to the great Narnia series, and I find myself again contemplating this passage and finding comfort.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.