Sunday, August 9, 2009

Food for the Journey

I'm mapping out the next school year and am alternately inspired and terrified. I want to cover an ambitious amount of material--ALL of American history, the experiments in the science book, and participate in a writing co-op, among other things.

Believe me, after all these years, I understand the danger of biting off more than I can chew. But I also feel that we've accomplished less than we could have the past few years because I didn't plan well enough. I did a good job of mapping out the overall weeks, but slacked when it came to transferring those goals onto daily plans.

I also know that it is possible to plan too much, but that has not been a danger for me in many years. We've been flying by the seat of our pants for awhile; in fact much of our forward motion has been fueled by good habits (thank goodness!).

Even when I wasn't ready in the morning (both with a plan and dressed and ready to go), my homeschoolers would get started. They'd do their independent work, then I'd scramble to catch up with the subjects that required preparations, personal time with me, or working as a group. That way got us through, but with more stress than necessary, and with less "fun stuff".

So here I am trying to set down pages per day without panicking. The potential benefits are so worth it: by writing down in advance which experiments we're doing when, for example, I'll have a jump on actually having the materials ready in advance. Exciting concept!

What does any of this have to do with this post's title? At mass today I was reminded that this is a journey and that I'm not on my own.

The first reading (1 Kings 19:4-8) tells how an angel brought Elijah food from heaven when he was starving in the desert. "...then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb."

In the gospel (John 6:41-51) Jesus explains, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

And here's the morning prayer from Magnificat, "God of mercy and compassion, you sent food to strengthen the prophet Elijah for the journey to the place where he would meet you. You sent bread to strengthen your people in the desert for the journey to the promised land. You send us in Christ the bread of life to strengthen us for our journey on the road of discipleship. Sustain us in courage, faith, and hope, that we may one day see you face to face, through the same Christ our Lord."

Sorry to be so long-winded, but this gives me hope. My real goal is heaven, not just a "good" school year, and God will give me what I need to get there. Maybe we need to fit daily mass back in again...

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