It has been a little over two weeks since our last little bird flew the nest and is now nestling in nicely at school. Yes, she nearly flew back home the minute she experienced “Syllabus Shock”, but knowing that her mantra over the past few months has been, “I want to be treated like an adult“, we did exactly what she asked. We treated her like an adult and allowed her to tough it out on her own. Hard lesson for all of us.
My husband and I spent last weekend tidying up our much-neglected yard, accomplishing tasks that have irritated us for years. I think we had always assumed that one of our children would enjoy working at our side but that was for the most part just wishful thinking. My children, bless their hearts, would rather stick “needles in their eyes” as Jack Nicholson said in “Terms of Endearment”, than help us with yard work. Knowing that, we decided it was just high time we did these nagging chores ourselves sans help from the kids. In fact, since the kids have left, my husband and I are much more prone to getting things done around the house. The nagging has stopped. Chores that were once delegated to children, with the associated weeping, and gnashing of teeth on both sides to get them to perform set chores, are now ours and ours alone to do. Washing dishes together has become a fun chore, with my husband kissing my neck as he “helps”. (Yes, we are free to display some outward affection towards one another now in the kitchen without the sound of “Eeeewwwww!” from our scandalized children.)
My husband and I have rediscovered conversation. Yes, we still talk about the kids, but now we also have lengthy discussions about the wonders of the universe, pondering infinity, or we enjoy just being silent and listening to the crackle of an outdoor fire and hearing the coyotes yowling in the distance.
While my husband is at work, I have discovered that I’m less stressed about my day. I have a lengthy quiet time with God, not a hurried, “Help me!” prayer before rushing off to get children organized for their day. I spend now a concerted amount of time before His Throne. To be honest, I haven’t been able to do that in years. It is like I’m reconnecting with Him as well.
I am rediscovering a new vitality in my soul and body. Yes, it’s true. As I opened scripture this morning these verses popped out at me:
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 (MSG) “Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young, Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes, Before your vision dims and the world blurs And the winter years keep you close to the fire. In old age, your body no longer serves you so well. Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen. The shades are pulled down on the world. You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt. The hum of the household fades away. You are wakened now by bird-song. Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past. Even a stroll down the road has its terrors. Your hair turns apple-blossom white, Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body. Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest, While your friends make plans for your funeral. Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over. Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it. It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke. The Quester says that everything’s smoke.”
I have always thought that “youth” in this context was directed towards those young people who are in their early thirties and younger, but I am discovering that being an Empty Nester this passage challenges me as well. The years have not as yet taken their toll, I’m a little hard of hearing, true, but there are still years and years of discovering and experiencing more and more of life and God before my eternal rest – God willing. I intend to take full advantage of that!