Better Is The End of a Thing…

            Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”  Boy howdy that’s been ringing through my mind for nearly two weeks!   Yes, it’s the beginning of another home schooling year.  I love the beginning.  I mean I really love the beginning.  It marks the return of a routine (in theory anyway).  Its precious achievements and light bulb moments all ready to burst forth like a tulip in the spring.  Yes, it’s that time of year when goals are made.  I love the moment when I get to sit down with a new pencil from Mardel’s bookstore and stick it into the electric pencil sharpener getting it as pointed as possible and smelling the sawdust and lead that is torn away.  Then, I crack open my fresh new lesson plan book, not yet marred by the eraser, and start to jot down the weeks and dates, followed by the subject headers and known holidays, the daily schedules and even lunch menus. Oh the sweet joy of a new year that is just waiting to be filled with pedagogy and field trips.
            Then, reality hits in right in the middle of my perfected schedule that I have vowed to uphold and protect.  Yes, just when I’ve sworn off any answering of phones until after noon, no appointments until after 2:00 and absolutely no thoughts of dinner preparations until at least 4:00.  Errrrt! Arghhhhh! Crash!!!!!  “Oh yeah, I already made those eye doctor appointments and dental appointments months ago.  They are at 9:00 and 10:00am during the first week of school!  Then the second week comes with the missions’ conference at church.  What’s that? Oh right I’m supposed to take people out to lunch during that week.  My kids?  Oh they’ll be fine scrounging for peanut butter and jelly.  I’m sure they’ll stay right on task all by themselves.  What?  Their teacher?  Oh yes, that’s me, but they’ll just have to deal until I can give them attention.  Yes, I’ll admit, it was real fun explaining that to my crying 10 year old this morning when she frustratingly let me know that I’ve never explained to her how I wanted her to set up her arithmetic homework page before laying into her about the sloppiness of her work.  Oh yea, we’re off to a greeeaaaat start.
            This is really nothing new to me.  I’m a melancholy sanguine…that means I smile a lot in public and go home and cry about everything.   It also means I have a tendency to start a lot of things but not finish.  Oh how I despise this flaw in my personality.  I can’t tell you how many diets, schedules and gardens I’ve started and blown.  Then comes the self-deprecation and mean talk.  Did you ever see the 1969 movie “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner?  Some of my favorite lines come from that movie:
Joe Danby: I’m gonna get you for this, Jake! 
Jason McCullough: Well, you are the toughest talkin’ blowhard I ever heard! 
Or how about this one:
Joe Danby: I hear you’re gonna try and arrest me. You know you don’t look near as tough as some of them other sheriffs we’ve had lately. Particularly that old boy that done run off about an hour and a half after he took the job. 
Jason McCullough: Joe, you just make me feel tired all over when you talk like that. 
Joe Danby: Now, what do you mean by that? 
Jason McCullough: It’s bad enough to have to kill a man without having to listen to a whole lot of stupid talk from him first. 
           
I don’t think I’m actually schizophrenic or anything like that.  But I do have a little Joe Danby that whispers in my head and I have to pull out the “Tired all over” quote.   
I was thinking about this just this morning when I went running with the 2nd man.  Yes, surprise, we’ve got a new kick we’re on now.  I decided that since the weight lifting thing wasn’t helping me lose any weight that I needed to add more cardio.  That’s when I happened upon the Couch Potato to 5K running program online.  They insist that you will be able to run a 5K at the end of 9 weeks.  Well, we’re now in week 5, which is pretty impressive to me so far.  However, I’ve reached the stage in the program where I look at the next day’s jogging schedule and about have a panic attack.  Then I get out there and think “what are you doing out here?”  Between the heat rash and trying to keep up with 2nd man (who is exactly 1 foot taller than me), oh yeah and the asthma, I wonder if there really is a way to get this body healthy.  The program looks great on paper, but whoa it’s hard. 
            I must concede though, that doing it with 2nd man pulls some sort of stubborn reserves from me and I have made it through so far.  However, this morning, as he was congratulating me for making it to the final bell on my stopwatch, I explained that what he just witnessed was 8 straight minutes of me arguing with myself.  Truly, I need to put the headphones on and get some diversion. 
            I’ve got us scheduled to run a 5k for our local YMCA on October 1st.  Now, I have yet to reach any weight loss goals in my whole life.  I’m banking on the satisfaction of at least finishing this program and making it to this goal.  I keep saying to myself “Better is the end of a thing…Better is the end of a thing…. Better is the end of a thing.”  Of course it’s about here that I forget the end of the verse…ironic isn’t it? 
            Anyway, I’m hopeful that this will still be our best home school year ever.  It’s just our life that guarantees that the only thing that is consistent is change.  So with a flexible mind, and unwavering desire I’ll press on.  Maybe my kids will learn a lot more about life and flexibility than academics, but at least they’ll be learning.  It’s become one of my greatest desires now just to NOT be a big blowhard, but actually accomplish something…we’ll see.
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