Empty Nest Re-filled
Life as an empty-nester has some real joys: food stays in the refrigerator longer, laundry does not pile up like a Minnesota snowstorm, stuff is where you last left it, the house is quiet around 10 pm, the sink is not continually filled with dishes, the kids are now adults pursuing their own dreams as adults.
This Thanksgiving, all three kids (now full-blown adults) showed up as a surprise (see blog below). Now this morning, with Martha flying off to see her mom and dad, and Luke on the road back to Eugene, and the other two sleeping in, the house has this wonderful afterglow or harmonic overtone of a well-spent holiday. After Thanksgiving meal, we gathered in the courtyard between the house and church and played a French ball-tossing game called "petanque". How fun to just hang around together, laughing, teasing, competing, telling stories. The truth washed over me as I took the photo how incredibly rich I was. If I got hit by a truck this afternoon and died, it's all in the profit column for me. To see kids in the early blooming of their career paths and enjoying each other's company as adults is a sweet experience I do not deserve, but deeply enjoy. That they exert huge effort and expense to travel across the country to their "new home" lessens the sense of loss I felt as we moved. Our friends here are becoming their friends. Their rooms are taking shape as their own spots when they come. Landmarks get more familiar, favorite restaurants are now requested.
In microcosm that's what worship is; the nest being refilled for a moment. We are flying on our own, doing our adult things as we should. But then there is the call, the longing, the ache to be with brothers and sisters around the Table, under the Word, singing, praying, confessing, encouraging. I'm glad to be a spiritual empt-nester. I don't want believers not being able to be out in the world on their own. I rejoice in the spiritual adult-hood of believers, leading, teaching, guiding others on their own without dependancy on me as their pastor. But oh how wonderful when we gather back together for a moment.