My mind and heart float in a space of contented longing. It has been five days since I steered my empty suburban into the driveway and smooched faces and wrapped arms around the people I missed so much. I had been away for only four days but so much has changed. To tell the truth though, I hadn’t just been away, I had been with my tribe.
I may not be able to remember everyone’s name but seeing each face was like looking into the eyes of a long-lost friend. I may not have even heard each person’s story, but there was a golden thread that united us all: a passion for creating in our families deep, enduring connections. Sitting in the beautiful retreat space, I looked around. “Remembered names or not,” I thought. “This is my tribe none-the-less."
So where was I?
The Brave Writer ‘Be Good to You’ Retreat.
This retreat was about homeschooling and writing, yes. But it was about so much more. It was about connection, collaboration, compassion, communication. It was about being real about what is hard and what is beautiful and how the lines between these blur until we find ourselves staring at the hard stuff, finding it beautiful. It was about finding my own truth and speaking it out loud.
And this is where I really was when I pulled into my driveway. I was in that place of wonder, staring wide-eyed, watching the deep truths of the retreat swirl within me and around me. Wondering how they will change my family and marveling at how they were already changing me. Even the act of trying to pin words to these thoughts feels insufficient. Words too meager. Ideas bigger than life itself, it may take me a lifetime to process them all. But then again, isn’t that the point? When we’re faced with truths beyond explanation, yet so much a part of our being, we’re left in a sort of empty-full space. Our mind tries to compartmentalize to make sense of something that only our soul can fully grasp.
In the days of the retreat, I found myself pondering what it means to homeschool, how home and ‘school’ need to dance with each other to a song unique to each family. How respecting the personhood of each of my children challenges me to respect my own. How trust is the core of it all: trust in the process of learning, trust in the people that make up my home, trust in myself. I found myself simultaneously overwhelmed and grounded by the glorious weight of all that I was taking in.
Re-entering the rhythm of daily life has been slow and deliberate. The contended longing that I feel still lingers like the scent of lilacs in spring, strong and present, holding me in a place of awe as I allow the ideas and intentions of the retreat to seep into my roots and send out shoots of new growth. And even as I write this, I know that the growth will reach far and wide, not just for me but for everyone who attended. On the last day of the retreat, in what felt like a climactic moment, I sat surrounded by all these amazing women, listening to Julie Bogart share her heart in her talk, Invisible Education: Emotional Safety for Learning and Love. In that moment, I saw the truth.