Recently, my family had the opportunity to perform a shortened version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. It was chaos, and it was beautiful. As we were standing in front of our church about to begin, I looked around and--while trying to keep my voice steedy and calm--asked, "Where is Scrooge?" Scrooge was being played by my six-year-old daughter, and she was not to be found. One of my older children yelled from behind a curtain, "She's in the bathroom!" One could do nothing but laugh.
However, as I reflected on Scrooge (the character--not my daughter), I have to admit, I saw a bit of my former self in him.
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. (Dickens, Stave 1)
Enter in Charlotte Mason and through her the Charlotte Mason (CM) Community. Aspen Grove Educational Community (AGEC) cemented the decision to embrace an education which is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life. AGEC is the local CM community to which I belong--a co-op and a book study which have grown into a close-knit group of friends sharing the sorrows and joys of life together. These women love beauty, and they have graciously and patiently been bringing me along.
I have been able to have many challenging discussions on the Ambleside Online Forum which have caused me to question my views on beauty. One area of many which sticks out to me is my new love of Shakespeare. The old, dead poet really was a genius, and though I still don't get much of what he writes, I have grown to enjoy reading and discussing his plays. But...we are supposed to tackle some of his sonnets in 2017 and that sounds awful. I don't even know what a sonnet is, but I'm going to learn.
I have been able to meet many in the greater Charlotte Mason Community through conferences and retreats. I have had the privilege of attending a Charlotte Mason Institute Conference, a Living Education Retreat, and a Weekend of Living Ideas (oh, oh, and a Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat). Through the many workshops and plenaries I have attended and the discussions which have ensued, I have been challenged to care about the beauty in every area of my life.
I have begun to attend Journey Society meetings.
Journey Society is for women who love (or want to love) beauty and culture through the ages, from lovely table settings to great works of art. Journey Society is a local community of ladies in Colorado Springs of all ages and interests who believe that experiencing beauty in community nourishes souls and improves lives. We desire to learn and grow in order to advance goodness in our own lives and in our communities.
But this does not come naturally, and to some (ahem), less than others.
We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life.
Mason, Ourselves, V4 p. 43
We were blessed to share this time with friends in ways I did not expect. I cannot share the stories, but they brought much laughter and caused tears of joy to flow as we reflected on and shared the goodness of God to us over the past year.
It is my humble privilege to continue awakening beauty along side you. To once again quote Cindy Rollins, "We are coming from poverty to something rich. The journey is going to take a long time." There is no one with whom I would rather be on this journey.