It's beginning to feel like summer! Just one more week of school for Manu - and I am so proud of the way she has navigated the move to online school and schooling from home. It is not easy as an adult to be on the computer all day, every day, let alone as a child. Classes online seem to be just as noisy as classes in person, but with less teacher control and less of a community dynamic.
There are many things she has missed. Like walking between classes, seeing her school mates, playing football, and doing creative things in class. She has complained many times that school has become a boring round of worksheets, with every day the same as the last. She has kept her grades up, and continued to engage well. I admire her ability to be self-motivated, although I can see her enthusiasm and love of learning has taken a severe knock.
Having said that, I am impressed with the school and teachers, who really have done the best they could given the circumstances. Just this week, I received a call from the school counsellor, who is phoning every family to check how the kids are doing. That's good care, right there.
This weekend was a well-deserved break for her and the kids of another family, who are friends of ours. We went together to a reservoir about a 45 minute drive from home. There was a cool wind and personally I was chilly most of the time we were there, but the kids weren't bothered and spent lots of time in the water. The perfect antidote to a week of online schooling! It was fun to picnic and chat, and to celebrate the graduation of one of our friends from her master's program.
When we got home, Tim and I decided to finish the upholstery project we'd started the day before. Tim had picked up this old wood-framed chair from a family that are returning to the States. It was in a bit of a sad state, so we ordered new padding and set to work with some fabric I had been saving from our last visit to South Africa. I am really pleased with the result.
Tim has sort of 'adopted' the chair that we have on our balcony as his spot for morning quiet times, or sundowners. In any case, it's a bit too deep to be comfortable for me (yes, that means my legs are too short!). This little chair is perfect for my height and now we have Mr and Mrs chairs! It was a fun project since, amidst the craziness of the world right now, I am still very aware that doing practical and creative activities is very grounding for me.
In other weekend round-up news, Tim and I enjoyed a great 12km trail run and lovely sundowners at the beach. As the world continues to twist and turn, in a tumult of sorrow and rage, indignation and opinion, I am grateful for the places and people that anchor me. Along with the fun and the sun, there were hard things this weekend - difficult words spoken, opinions touted, deep concerns felt for people we love and other we don't know personally.
As Martin Luther famously said, Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. Enjoying the beauty of nature with friends, creating order and beauty in the environment around us, investing in the health of our bodies and our relationships - it's easy to think that these things are light and fluffy, irreverent even, when such grave and historic events are unfolding in the world around us. Could it be that it is especially at times such as these that our acts of love, and creativity, and celebration mean the most?
I will put my hand up and open my mouth on behalf of the marginalised, and I am ready for flinty conversations and difficult choices. And at the very same time, I continue to side with generative goodness and living a life of love and purpose. When you stop to think about it, these are two threads of the same message of restoration and redemption.