I am having to re-do a Rule for our house-hold. If you don’t already know, by “Rule” I mean like a monastery or convent has, not just “rules”. The Rule consists of the whens and the hows of daily life and ordering it to our good. First and foremost, it is an ordering of our time and activities to make our family and our home pleasing to God. It also makes our lives easier. Rather than being restricting or making us “slaves” to a schedule, it actually makes us more free. We are free from having to constantly put out fires and play catch up. Because our days are thought-out and organized, we actually have more time to do some of the things we want. Of course, we can be overzealous and crowd our schedule so full of “meaningful” tasks that we don’t have that time, but that is not the purpose. It is about Order. It is about Proper Order.
A while back I formulated yet another Rule. It worked okay for a time. We did slowly let thing slide, though. I (we) slowly and imperceptibly put off this or delayed that or made this other thing a higher priority than it should have been. Things got out of proper order. The result has been a certain level of chaos in our home. Worse than that, there is a certain level of chaos in our hearts and spirits! Cooperation has dropped, prayer as a priority lost it’s place. Oh, we still pray, but our family prayer consists of an evening chaplet of Divine Mercy. The day is not anointed with prayer throughout as it should be. The evening prayer is erratic…. will we pray at 6:30 this evening or 9:30? It just depends on what our whims dictate. Being governed by whims really is no good. Amusingly, my excuse is that I do not want to be dictated by a piece of paper (containing a Rule and a schedule.) How odd that what I’m actually saying, though I do not deliberately intend it, is that I prefer to be ruled by chaos!
Now that we are back in school, the Rule needs to be revamped anyway. We can’t look at the previous rule and try to tuck school activities in it. If I were to simply try to squeeze it into the old, I am not giving the vocation of homeschooling the priority or attention it needs. That is not an acceptable way to live out this part of the vocation the Lord has given me. It is not fair to the kids and it is not fair to me. In attempting to fly by the seat of our pants, we are not accomplishing as much as we should, we are not doing it as well as we could and the end of the day leaves me with loads of unnecessary, avoidable (though just) guilt. Of course I feel guilty at the end of the day… I have only chaos to show to the Lord. I make a morning offering and the end result is less that beautiful.
Ultimately, creating (and tweaking) and living a Rule requires a training of the will. It is interesting that I have a clear understanding of the need for me to train my children’s wills and yet I do not discipline my own will as I ought. I look for the easy, the comfortable, the pleasing before I look to take care that my duties are fulfilled. In spite of it, I do expect my kids to fulfill their duties and I am right to do so, but I am sending a bad message along with that. Do what I say, not what I do. That is not good parenting, it is not good mentoring and it is not good discipling. This change back, once again, to order and rhythm and discipline has to start from the top down. I have to do this first!
I need to get over feeling overwhelmed and overburdened and just deal with my responsibilities and the duties of my vocation in a methodical way. If I don’t, we will all suffer. One of the things that confuses me the most is how I hold out for time to knit or visit with friends (or blog) and it ends up being nothing but frustration. I know ~I absolutely know~ that if I were to implement a Rule again and keep working at it until I figure out what is going to work best for our family and stick with it and keep up with all the responsibilities and duties that are mine that there will be an abundance of time (GUILT-FREE, PEACEFUL TIME) for all of these other things. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. So simple and yet so difficult sometimes.
So please, if you can spare a moment, I would appreciate a prayer for clarity and wisdom and the courage to step out of what is easy to do what is right. Again.