A little more than two years into my empty nesting, I’m up at the crack of dawn browsing through old blogs where I wrote about what it was like to live alone after so many years with a noisy home raising two boys by myself. It seems like every time I learned a new nugget of wisdom (many from my friend Jean’s mother and her “-ism’s”), I thought I had it all figured out – how to do this “empty nest syndrome” thing. And yes, there is such a thing (if you ask me)….. Turns out, I still don’t know very much.
Things I found difficult –
- Sudden, abrupt silence in my home because I was the ONLY person in it. (I learned to LOVE that in just a few months).
- How to cook for one person. It is possible to mash only one potato! (But it’s also sometimes easier to just go to Panera for a Fugi Apple Salad).
- No one needing me anymore, and the phone never ringing, the door never opening.
Two plus years into this “syndrome” and I’m learning just how much more learning I have yet to do. Oh…… and how much learning I have to UN-DO too…… Even more difficult.
This new season is now presenting new challenges for me I’ve yet to successfully hurdle. God’s making me dig deep inside and realize my satisfaction has not been rooted as completely in Him as I would have professed, or even believed, perhaps…… Much of my satisfaction came from raising my kids. (And it was okay for me to enjoy that – but not okay to make it too much of my identity).
I now have more time to be still, and more silence with which to sit and listen. This morning, I was awakened with so many thoughts….. I’ll just share a random few here before I go for a long, much-needed silent walk. Maybe I’ll run into my photographer friends at the park. Hope so.
- Everyone needs a best friend who doesn’t just coddle you and tell you what makes you feel good. You need a friend who is going to put an honest-to-goodness mirror in front of your face and encourage you to look in it. (Note the word “encourage.”)
- Ask God to prioritize your relationships the way that HE wants them prioritized. He won’t put someone #2 in your life, and then make you #10 in theirs. Make Him #1. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
- Consult God first – before ANY human being. Then sit in that silence and listen for His voice. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27
- And the most profound thing I’m learning, is that I don’t know a doggone thing. (A great place to start)
Well, that’s it. It’s not much – but it’s all I’ve got this morning. Maybe just a few things that probably belong only in my journal, but if I figure that out, that’s where it will wind up later.
And now – I’m going to my favorite place (well, now my 2nd favorite place, because I have a new #1 favorite place)…. It’s FREEZING out, but I know just where to go for answers. He speaks to me there. He always, always speaks to me there – right there in my silence.