“Do you hear that?” he asked.
But I was in full stress mode, as a teacher coming back after taking three vacation days. The stack of papers to be graded was growing Everest size in my imagination, and I wondered what the subs had done versus the instructions I had left. So I wasn’t really listening to his concerns about that sound coming from down the way and something about machinery.
Then I got home at 2:30 and went to the sink to fill my water bottle, before tackling the lawn mowing.
Oh my word.
The overgrown row of shrubs that had bordered our back property line and that of our neighbors was gone, and an evil monster scoop with teeth was ravaging the last of it down the line. Farther back behind our property was a pile of bush carnage bigger than the pile of papers I had to grade, if you need perspective. A pile of growing things that probably will be set to burn, leaving its smoky scent as its only goodbye. We imagine that soon a nearby subdivision will extend to border our back yard.
“I’m sad,” Matt said when he got home and his eyes grew big at the empty space. “That’s where the pheasants lived, and I’m going to miss hearing those.”
Just a few nights ago we disembarked the plane that had carried us away from our son and our daughter-in-law, after we celebrated their college graduation and the beginning of their new lives working in the Austin, Texas area. My mother’s heart moaned at the empty space in our lives where the growing things had just been. Now permanently uprooted and transplanted, our boy will have no more spring break weeks and long summers spent at home, where I had a reason to buy a gallon of chocolate milk every week and trip over size 11 Chacos in the back entry.
Now I sat on the riding lawn mower, staring at our new back view and feeling the impact of our new lives, with kids settling elsewhere. Lord, I need a durable joy. Give me something wonderful and hopeful that can grow deep, deep, deep roots and never ever be dug up.
It’s me, He said.
Just like that. Worship on the mower.
Yes, I whispered back to him. And you are simply wonderful. Better than trees, better than the sound of pheasants in summer, and even better than children.
No offense to the children, if you’re reading this. Oh how we love you. What a joy you are to us. How very much we have enjoyed raising you and what delight we now have to see you be wife and husband and decorate your own houses and do your exciting work in your homes and outside of your homes. No offense.
But you have left the nest, and I simply need more. I want more. And More is there for me. You growing up and leaving is good for my soul, so don’t feel bad at all. In this new aloneness I see Jesus waiting here for me, and I can be all filled up and happy. His roots of love and beauty grow down, down, down inside of me and cannot, will not, ever disappoint.
So yes, tears. I mean, we have beautiful children and now they’ve married and have doubled our joy, but we just miss these stinkin’ kids like crazy.
But happy. Because Jesus is here inside of me, and I can walk along with him every day and be just fine. I can thrive up until my last breath, no matter what gets pulled up and transplanted out of my life that I had been enjoying very much.
Do you know Jesus? If you’re sad or disappointed about what you don’t have anymore, then this is absolutely the perfect day for you to turn your eyes toward him and get filled up in all the cracks of your heart. Filled to overflowing. He is so good, and he wants to show you how good. Open your arms to him.