Why Hard Choices Make Us Free

imageHard choices define our future steps with the weight of Roman roads, built brick upon brick, our sweat and tears poured out, an offering. My husband’s eyes stared at me as I paused. The nice principal was asking, ” Are your kids coming to our school next year for sure?”

The weight of a moment. I exhaled.

We were touring the halls of the local elementary school. My six year old son was taking it all in: big classrooms, colorful walls, the friendly teachers, neighborhood kids saying hello in recognition. My nine year old reflected aloud her first year as a kindergartener in a much larger school as we walked the halls in this new one. It has been four years since she has attended public school.

imageimageFour years ago we held hands, dove off the rocky ledge into an unknown sea, and started homeschooling. Some encouraged us. Some did not.

It felt crazy and, oh, so right.

As a family, we sacrificed much and gained back ten times what we lost in beautiful friendships, educational challenges, and strengthened family bonds.

Yesterday I reflected on hard choices at my great uncle’s funeral. He was a man who sacrificed much as an air-force veteran, a schoolteacher, and a pastor. The preacher spoke the eulogy with conviction, his black robe, an austere curtain to illuminate the light he invited all of us to follow: Christ.

“The way is narrow,” he bellowed.

At the gravesite, weighted tears poured down my face under my sunglasses as the honor guard removed the American flag from the coffin and folded it into triangles with white gloves. From across the cemetery lawn, nine guns saluted his life. The bugle sounded the loss in a mournful cry. A soldier handed my great aunt the flag, forever folded and another presented her nine bullets, never to be shot. I cried for her loss and wished I had known him better.

Knowing my own children well has come with four years of hard, beautiful, messy days.

I thank God for them as I watch my son slurp up a slice of apple as only the little fruititarian can. That initial hard choice to homeschool gave me four years of no regrets.

imageNo regrets, and yet, how narrow it feels to step again on that ledge and commit to putting my children into a great school so I can write for a solid year. The tears have come as I mourn a mother’s loss of momentous joys found—the pajama days, afternoon science experiments, and the spark of ideas set alight in their eyes with creative hours at their disposal.

I await eagerly for the reward of no regrets, a life well-lived, a freedom I have known fully only when I follow the voice of the One who calls me outside comfortland and into barren places, even if it feels like going in reverse.

Barren places—dry, thirsty ground that looks like a blinking cursor on a white page and a rickety, half-designed blog and the silence of no children for seven hours. I think I may go crazy. But I open my hands, using them to push myself through the tight rocky space which marks the path to the sea ledge. I look at the principal square in the eyes as I inhale fully. “Yes, they are coming.” And I jump again.

What does a life of no regrets look like to you?

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June 1, 2015