When you spend 20 years surrounded by your children and their lives, the closeness, when they leave – it is a tremendous vacuum. It is a wonderful leaving, as you prepared them for the moment they launch out on their own, yet there is a suffering, and a process that takes place, and in time it doesn’t go away, but lessens and offers many, many opportunities for both missing them and rejoicing in the people they are becoming. Mine have been gone for some time now, and life has changed several times since my children left home, making their own lives and homes. It is a tremendous gift to see your children happy and capable, learning life in the steps the Lord has for them.
I haven’t painted a current self-portrait, as self-portraits are not my interest, but it is time to paint a happy one. Life is good, and I have gotten to know Jesus on a deeper level, my husband on a more pleasant level and myself… well, it has become a lighter journey, and it is ok to be me. We do learn our total dependence on the Lord, and that if there is anything good in us, it is by His Life and grace.
Getting older has advantages. There is peace, and a relaxing of the edges. We are who we are. We don’t have to know everything. The pain creates space for greater things.
“Empty Nester” documents a time in my life, middle-life crises, father dying, menopause, children leaving home. The next portrait, by God’s grace, will have open arms.
“Let me grow lovely, growing old,
So many fine things do;
Laces, and ivory and gold,
And silks, need not be new;
And there is healing in old trees;
Old streets, a glamour hold;
Why may not I, as well as these,
Grow lovely, growing old?”