One benefit of homeschooling I never anticipated is that in the process of educating my kids, I have learned a great deal as well. My knowledge of ancient history, sentence diagrams, and a myriad other missing pieces in my own education have filled in quite nicely over the years. Just recently, while studying science with Maggie, an insight bopped me on the head rather like Newton and his gravitationally driven apple. The lesson regarded friction and simply stated that every time two things rub against each other there is friction and that this friction is what causes things to slow down. There are, of course, instances in which there is very little friction, which is why I spend many winter months picking my sorry carcass off the ice-covered ground. But even as I go bottom up, friction is still present, a small but ever present grace that prevents me from skidding into infinity.
While I certainly appreciate the force that keeps from careening into oncoming traffic, I am often less grateful when it comes to friction of a more relational nature. Sometimes the objects that rub against one another aren’t my rear and the frozen tundra but rather my own will, desires, and personal quirks and those of my family and friends. It doesn’t feel much like grace when it is my plans that are being slowed down by the plans of others pulling in the opposite directions.
Though I usually view this friction as something to be avoided or at least ignored, something in the simplicity of second grade science tells me that friction, whether physical or emotional, has been carefully woven into our world with a purpose in mind. When my body encounters friction with, let’s say, pavement, it is my skin that generally gives way. When my willful spirit encounters friction with, let’s say my husband and his willful albeit generally more rational spirit, it is my flesh that comes off. Not my physical flesh but the flesh of my sin nature. This friction slows me down so that I can be changed into something new. Again it is often painful, but if seen as grace it can be a transforming pain that brings to life a new creation.
One day, gravity will release its hold on this battered and bruise shell of mine. I will rise to Heaven and be greeted by my King. On that day, He will make sense of all that seems senseless now. He will take all those friction-inflicted wounds and make them beautiful.