Several years ago, we reached an impasse in our homeschool co-op. It was during a time where many families who had been there for years had left and new families were coming in, many of whom wanted to do things a little differently and some of whom imported ideas we weren’t keen to adopt. And so we had some words and a bit of a falling out as many people in close relationships of one sort or another often do. Shortly after, I received a phone call from one of the women with whom I disagreed. She took the high road despite my lack of effort to meet her on it and she said something during our conversation that has stuck with me ever since. She admitted that we were far apart in our thinking on many issues, but she then said she believed we agreed more than disagreed. As Christians, we had a foundation. As moms, we had a foundation. As homeschoolers, we had a foundation. And she was right.
We are nation of factions. A people divided. Several weeks ago, it seemed hopeful that many of our differences were being laid down. We were being forced to look at the things in our lives that truly mattered and anything that didn’t was cast aside. We were all trying to understand what was causing our new normal, trying to help each other survive it and prosper in the midst of adversity. We were generally in agreement that a microscopic agent was going to alter our lives for a very long time, if not forever.
But days turned into weeks and weeks have turned into months. And now, we seem to be more divided than we were before. Right-winged conspiracy theories have taken hold where information is incomplete. Liberal agendas have found a foothold that will be quite difficult to unhinge once the current crisis is over. It is human nature to want answers and action. And we want them now and we want them our way. And we don’t always care about the thousands who disagree with us as long as we can prove we are right. At least to ourselves. At times only to ourselves, our audience of one.
Around 10pm last night, I decided it was a good time to start looking up scholarly articles on which HLAs play a role in my particular auto-immune disorder, as well as which HLAs were detected in people who had adverse outcomes to SARS about 18 years ago, wondering if any of those alleles may play a role in the current pandemic. A rabbit hole of confusing information that was entered after a text conversation with a friend who knows much more about molecular biology, immunology and virology than I could ever hope to understand. There have been times in the past several years I have rued my decision to spend most of my sophomore biology class sparing with my desk mate over trivial matters like his spiky hair and acid washed jeans. This was one of them and hindsight is indeed perfect. My sweet (and patient) friend has helped me tremendously over the years, but in reality, there is so very much I don’t know. So much I’ll never know.
A wise person I know once said, “You need to know why you’re homeschooling, or you won’t last long.” I’ve thought about that several times over the past eleven years. In our early homeschool days, I thought I knew. Our girls were relatively easy to teach, eager to learn, and were both above average students. The hardest part was never the schooling; it was the heart issues, the power struggles, the sin. I thought I had it figured out for the most part. But after year seven, we took a road trip to South Dakota and it was then that I realized I had no idea what I was doing or why.
I walked into the intensive care room to see my dad lying in the bed. IVs and monitors with alarms sounding every few minutes. His complexion was pallid, grey. And when he awoke, I told him I was thankful he was still here. A stent had been placed in his artery after a blockage stopped his heart just a few hours before, and yet his prognosis was tentatively good. After many hours, many tests, and several medications, he was stable. They said he was lucky. I knew his time had not yet come.