Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Walking Drum

{out to lunch}
For the last month my computer has been sitting on the floor in our once office. So I haven't really spent much time blogging or writing. Which means I've lost a ton of memories because I didn't take time to write them down. Shoot! Oh well all I can do is start doing better from here on out. So here's to doing better. To kick it off I am going to post a paper I just finished writing for my 5 Pillar class on Thursday. Its not the best paper in the world and its my first draft, but what the heck I thought I'd go ahead and post it. I discovered a few things about myself as I was writing it, and know I need to do better in a few other areas.

{The Walking Drum}
Most of the time I don't feel like I have enough of it or that I simply waste to much of it. I swear I run from here to there taking care of things that seem important in the moment, but all to often at the end of the day when I look back and try to think about what I've done that will really matter tens years down the road my mind draws a blank. So am I just the weird one that can't seem to get a handle on it or have I simply seen the light and now realize my potential which has translated into a lot more expectations of me and my family? I'm not sure but I do know that my vision of what a mother needs to do in a day has expanded from cooking, cleaning, and keeping my kids safe to pushing myself to become the person I was meant to be and inspiring my kids to become the people they were meant to be in a way I didn't understand only a few years ago. Maybe this new perspective on life has made me realize that I can't afford to waste a second of it on anything not important to my vision, mission, and purpose. Who knows for sure, but I do know this never yielding thing called time never seems to be on my side!

I think part of my trouble with time is my attitude that I must fit everything in today. I have trouble pacing myself and seeing beyond today sometimes. That must be why as I was reading The Walking Drum I admired Kerbouchard's slow methodical approach to time. As the book begins Kerbouchard has a clear mission to rescue his father. In my mind I probably would have focused on finding the shortest route to where my father was being held and go straight there so I could accomplish this goal quickly and move on with life. However this is not the approach he takes. He sees time differently than I usually view it. Wise beyond his years Kerbouchard begins his journey to find his father realizing that it is not the speed of the journey that matters but instead what he does during the time it takes to make the journey that matters. He understands that the journey itself will prepare him to rescue his father if he will allow the experiences he goes through to teach him. At the beginning of the book he is captured as a slave on a ship. It seems it would be hard to do anything but survive as a slave on a pirate ship however Kerbouchard sees the time he spends on the ship as an opportunity for growth to help him with the next leg of his journey. He says while on the ship "For I wanted a life wider and deeper than my own Breton shores could offer. To make my way in a larger world to see more, to learn more, to be more. This was my dream. Even now I was learning, I was becoming." (pg 25) Even in the mist of being a slave he was allowing himself to become who he wanted to be. The fact that he did not see his circumstances as limiting his ability to grow is amazing and inspires me to want to do the same. All to often my circumstances don't appear 'ideal' but that doesn't mean I can't be learning and becoming who I strive to be.

Sometimes its hard for me to stand alone. As a homeschooling mother of six children 9 and under I often feel alone and isolated. Even those who attend my church often can't relate to my decision to home school and don't understand how I cope with six children. They can't figure out why we limit TV, computer, and activities outside the home. Because they aren't reading what I and my children are reading they can't discuss the thoughts and ideas I have stewing in my head. Often I wish I was able to help them understand how awesome what I am doing is and how life is easier not harder and my joy is full. Most of the time though they aren't ready to hear what I have to say which is just fine, but again leaves me feeling alone and a bit isolated. I know what I am doing is the right thing for me and my family. I know that by deciding to study and read classic books with a group I am becoming who I am capable of becoming. Something more than I thought I was capable of becoming. I love how Kerbouchard described this feeling..."Alone I was, but he who stands alone is often the strongest. By standing alone he becomes stronger and remains strong." (60) I find that when I am alone with my books or with my family I am growing and becoming. No one is entertaining me and allowing my mind to stop working. I still find myself sometimes wishing I was being entertained by others more. I fool myself into thinking it would be easier. I know that even though time seems to fly when your being entertained if it happens to often I start to feel empty and powerless. The worst part of it is that my desire to study and learn decreases as the amount of time I spend being entertained increases.

As I have thought about the way Kerbouchard approaches time I find wanting to ask him more about it. What did time mean to him? How did time effect his decisions? How did time influence his goal setting? I believe his entire perspective of what time meant to him is very different than the way western civilization views time. I know different cultures think of the passing of time differently. Cultures such as British, Native Americans, Greek, French, Japanese, and some other Asian cultures, tend to view the past, cultural history, and traditions as having the most importance, and use them as a guide in making present-day decisions. Other cultures are present-oriented, and see the present moment as the most significant. Tradition holds little importance, and planning for the future is not emphasized, but rather spontaneity and impulsiveness are more appreciated, and lifestyles tend to be relaxed and casuals. Some examples of this can be seen in Latin America. Other societies are future-oriented, and place a firm focus on planning and forward movement, and the present activities are viewed as a bridge to this future goal. This is the dominant tone in the US. (college.cengage.com) By learning from other culture's perspective on time and how it influences their lives I believe my concept of time would expand I would be able to understand its importance and how to use it more purposely.

"Which of us knows the direction of his life? Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Often, when pausing at a crossroad, I have wondered what might lie waiting on the road not taken?" (142) I think in order to use my time more effectively I need to always be thinking about where I want to go and how I am going to get there. Setting small goals often and making time to revisit those goals and evaluate how I am doing with them would allow me to be constantly making course corrections to keep me headed in the right direction. Just the other day I was reading about one of the Apollo mission and how if they were off by a few degrees when leaving the Earth they would have missed the moon by more than a million miles. Our lives aren't really that different. We are on an important mission and by taking time to think about where we are and where we want to be and making goals to reach our destination allows us to stay focused on what really matters and use the time we have to make a difference to who we will become.

"I do not learn to obtain position or reputation. I want only to know." (pg 179) Over the last few years I have started to undergo a life changing transformation that I am sure will continue for the rest of my life. I have more faith in my own and my family's ability to become something I thought was only reserved for others. We can be amazing people, understand complex topics, contribute, and become scholars. But how? Its a process. "What kind of scholar was I? Or was I a scholar at all? My ignorance was enormous. Beside it my knowledge was nothing. My hunger for learning, not so much to improve my lot as to understand my world, had led me to study and to thought. Reading without thinking is as nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think...all knowledge is interrelated..." (pg 201-202) I know that using the time I have to constantly be learning is crucial to becoming the person I was meant to become. "For the mind must be prepared for knowledge as one prepares a field for planting, and a discovery made too soon is no better than a discovery not made at all." (pg 255) Each day I use my time wisely and become a better mom, more loving wife, and a more educated person changes me a little from the day before. And the more little changes I make the more I become a little more like the person I was meant to be. Kerbouchard has helped remind me to slow down, and with a purpose in mind spend my time becoming who I am meant to be rather than rushing through life to get to the finish line no better than I was when I started. "Victory is not won in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more." (261) "Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds." (373)


Jess the photographer behind the lens at JWilsonPix said...

This is a very inspiring piece... can relate to so many thoughts you have... =)

Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!!

Mindful Mothering said...

I love it Andee... thanks for sharing a part of yourself. I have found that there is power in standing alone for what you feel is right for your family... but balancing and finding joy in the moments is a little tricky for me still:-) Love the quotes you chose, Jared and I just finished reading this book a few days ago ~ so good!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andee,
I have been secretly reading your blog for the past months and after reading this piece had to let you know how impressed I am with what you are doing personally and with your family. Your words are so inspiring and I find myself relating to so much that you write.
Keep up the hard work and thanks for sharing.
Tammy Kelton (Brigett's sister)