I am afraid.
The other week I was praying a novena for my mentally ill daughter Felicity. I begged Mary to untie the knots in her sometimes difficult life. It just occurred to me I am also in need of those prayers. I can just imagine Mary saying, “Untie the knots in Felicity’s life? What about those in your own?” Somehow our knots are all entangled together.
Prayers are never answered in a straightforward way. God doesn’t just take away the situation we want to be released from. Oh no, He leads us on an unexpected journey. He takes us where we would never ask to go. It could be exciting beyond imagination. It certainly is frightening. Do I want to go there?
I am afraid.
By writing about my experiences raising a child with mental illness, as I promised in my last post, I am afraid I’m going to have to face up to all the mistakes of the past. I will have to relive those days I’d rather forget. I will be admitting I am far from perfect.
Part of me wants to retreat right now while I have a chance. I don’t want people to know who I was, and what I still struggle with. Perhaps I should just swap some private letters with Felicity. There is no reason I have to post our story in public, is there?
I want to say, “I’m Sue, an unschooling mother. My life is almost perfect. It’s always been that way. I’ve got everything worked out.” I want to fool you. I want to fool myself.
Have you ever noticed that the greatest graces come from the greatest challenges? If only we are able to accept the invitation. If only we weren’t afraid to take the first step.
“God, Who does nothing in vain,
does not give us either strength or courage
when we don’t need them, but only when we do.
He never fails us.”
St Francis de Sales
I found this quote on Nancy’s blog, The Breadbox Letters
So I am going to be brave. I will write my series of posts. I shall be honest. Will I lose credibility? I don’t know. Does it matter?
All that really matters is Felicity, and how she loves me… despite everything.
“I really love you, Mum,” she says, every time we chat on the phone. I really love her too.
I am no longer afraid.
Image: I thought this would be a fun photo to lighten the mood of the post. but then I remembered the circumstances in which it was taken. Again, appearances can be deceiving.
Can you see Sophie’s tear streaked face? This photo was taken a few years ago, just before we said goodbye to Felicity, as she set off back to Perth after a short holiday at home. Felicity was trying to cheer everyone up with her funny faces and rabbit ears. Sophie and I couldn’t smile. We cried,
PS You may be wondering what all this has to do with unschooling. I think it’s got a lot to do with it. I shall explain as we go along…