How to Use This Time Well

Confession: we have not done much that resembles “school” around here the last few days.

This, despite the fact that we have nowhere to go, no place to be except home. This, despite the fact that we are used to this homeschooling gig and have not been thrust into it involuntarily like so many others.

I have the plans and the tools and the time, and no excuse except for this: my heart and mind just haven’t been in it.

On Tuesday, I could no longer take the disastrous state of the girls’ room. Together, we spent the morning sifting through scraps of paper, broken bits of crayons, and other random swarf that has somehow drifted into their space.

(I kid you not: I retrieved a sippy cup full of shaving cream from the hidden recesses under one bed. Abby, when I pulled it out, exclaimed, “Oh, man, Katie – she found it!”)

That was Tuesday.

I can’t tell you what we did yesterday. For the girls, I think it involved cooking in their play kitchen and listening to audiobooks. For me? I’m not sure. I cleaned some, and cooked some, and kept kids alive.

This is not so paltry a list of accomplishments as it may seem.

Did you know that Isaac Newton began to develop gravitational theory while he was in quarantine? Or that Paul Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress while in prison? Or that the Apostle Paul was under house arrest when he wrote many of his letters?

If your answer to the preceding questions is no, well done. It’s clear you have not been on social media much in the past few weeks.

Katie woke up from her nap to find me at my computer.

“What are you doing, Mama?”

“I’m writing.”

“What about?”

“About what it’s like to stay home right now.”

“You should say, ‘The kids scream a lot, but it’s still fun.'”

Which about sums things up.

I believe (most days) in a God who redeems what seems unredeemable, in a God who has the power and the desire to use all things for good. I believe He wants His people to grow and even thrive in this time of great uncertainty. I believe He can coax beauty out of such things as pandemics and quarantines and global depressions. (Help my unbelief.)

I don’t believe He wants us to let this time – or any time – go to waste.

But I won’t be creating any masterpieces during the next several weeks. (Please, Lord, let it be weeks and not months.) I won’t be making scientific discoveries. I won’t even be finishing a novel.

Maybe others will use this time for such things – I hope they will. I hope, when this is all over, we’ll have an explosion of art and music and beauty that will overflow to fill the voids and empty places created by our isolation.

But it won’t be coming from me.

After all, if the past few days are any indication, I can’t even guarantee that I’ll be using this time to do school with my kids.

Instead, here’s what I can guarantee I’ll be doing:

Feeding my family, and keeping them clad in semi-clean clothes. Snuggling girls in a chair as we read “one more book.” Providing fingers for balance as Miles lurches around the room on unsteady feet.

Sharing card games and ice cream after kids are in bed. Texting a friend, a neighbor, a family member, just to say hi. Relaxing next to the fire with a cup of tea and a good book at the end of a long day.

Loving. Praying. Living. Hoping.

Doing my best to use this time well.

3 response to "How to Use This Time Well"

  1. By: Kirk Posted: March 27, 2020

    Thank you Jenn! Well said. My prayers and thoughts are with you and the family.

    • By: Jenn Posted: March 28, 2020

      Thank you, Kirk!

  2. By: jywatkins Posted: April 6, 2020

    Really lovely. And keeping you and those kiddos alive, plus cooking and cleaning, is an accomplishment for sure. Its the bar I set for myself most days too.

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