See Through Ice

My daughter and I walked down to the lake yesterday. She wanted to show me a beaver den, which we viewed from afar. It was getting late to take the time to walk the border, and I didn’t feel comfortable crossing the lake to get there. When she asked me why, I told her the same thing I told my son while at the beach in September, right after I sighed and said, “Be careful”. The boys wanted shovels, but the beach shed’s garage door is broke and doesn’t open from the outside. The only way to open it and reach the greatly desired shovels is to go in the side door, climb up the lifejacket wall into the roof rafters, and slide down the canoes. Whether it’s true or not, I do not know, but it hurts even now again to say it out loud: “Because I wouldn’t be able to rescue you.”

I took a walking stick with me to use as a weapon if needed. The last time she and I walked down there, we were startled by two foxes running from the beach and into the woods. Most of the time I walk here free from the fear of wild animals. I can’t imagine having to think about wolves, bobcats, or poisonous snakes. A few weeks ago we all watched several episodes of Life Below Zero, a show about people living in the northern parts of Canada. Because of the aggressive bears, one woman carried a firearm anytime she went outside. The foxes were neat, but I wasn’t particularly happy to see them. This is the first time we’ve seen foxes here. They looked about the size of a medium dog.

The adjustment continues with the school changes. For our Bible class we had to turn in a “worksheet” assignment by midnight Sunday. I knew we had to answer four questions with written answers of 300 words, which didn’t seem too bad. I didn’t know that 1200 words equals about 4.8 pages double-spaced according to Google. That made the 4-5 page paper due in the other class seem much more doable. Once again I was thankful the teacher had given me that extra time to finish it. The 1200 words still took longer than I thought it would, but between Saturday to Monday I ended up writing nearly 10 pages worth of words about something else besides just my personal thoughts.

I was proud of myself for accomplishing that, but truth be told, it took a toll. I’ve felt a bit paralyzed over the past few days feeling like I already wore myself out when I haven’t even barely started. Then I started fearing I’d overscheduled myself. I texted three different people trying to schedule get-togethers. There’s the new pastor’s wife who is currently homeschooling, and the other two homeschooling moms I haven’t seen since before the holidays. I emailed the family from church that we’re trying to get back in the monthly habit of getting together with. I write these things down on my calendar so I can see what I’m supposed to do and remember on paper, but then feel overwhelmed seeing everything written, like it’s this cluttered page of squares that isn’t making any sense.

This sounds like one long rambling anxiety mess. It reminds me a little bit of having a newborn. You have your life and your routine and then welcome a tiny person into the mix. In the early months, when I’d added hours a day of nursing and infant care, I wondered how I’d ever have time again to do all the things that were needing to be done, when even before there hadn’t been enough time. By God’s grace, however, somehow it works, and this is the blessing of added decades and years. You have points of reference and experiences to look back on. You’d never go back and relive the hard times, but the hard times are the ones that have gotten you here, to this place where you can look up and see there is nothing to fear here. You and God are together.

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