We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Empty Yet Full

Empty . . .

An apt description of the house when the last one leaves after a holiday. Can you relate? No bags stashed here and there. No toys to trip over. No sippy cups in the kitchen sink. No crowded bathroom counters and towel racks. No half-open suitcases. No scattered shoes and boots in the breezeway. No extra cars in the driveway.

And more obvious, no adult children and grandchildren gathered around, playing games, laughing, or eating around the table. All may be calm and bright, but as the emptiness echoes its stillness, I feel the loss.

At the same time, my heart is full . . . full of memories. Talking until 2 a.m. the night my college-age daughter flew in. More hours of talking, talking, talking. Shopping at Kohl's because her internship is right around the corner. Listening to her play the piano and sing. Welcoming the older girls and their families. Catching up. Cuddling a two-month-old and seeing his wide smiles for the first time. Reading stories. Singing carols by a crackling fire. Taking my oldest grandson to see The Nutcracker the day after Christmas. Enjoying a roast beef Christmas dinner, along with my dad and a friend. Playing Jenga. Sharing gifts and stories. Missing those no longer with us.

One family came on Sunday the 23rd and left the very next day due to our three-year-old's bout with vomiting and diarrhea. After a hurried gift opening, we all had tears in our eyes when they pulled away to try to get home, mommy and bucket in the back seat just in case.

Today, I said my last good-bye of the season. Our youngest drove off in her daddy's 2005 Corolla, new wiper blades in place, EZ Pass transponder and GPS attached to the windshield and, just to make me feel better, a few maps tucked in the passenger door pocket. Since 2015, I've babied this car . . . inspections, tires, maintenance . . . because I knew this day was coming, the day when she would drive it back to school in the mid-west. Barry would be proud of her (and all of them) if he were here. 

After a good cry, I got busy. Putting things in order has always been my way of coping. Does it ever get easier? 

As I mopped the bathroom floor and folded towels, I thought about what happened after Mary's encounter with Gabriel. Luke 1:39 tells us, "In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah" to visit Zachariah and Elizabeth. Although the Bible doesn't mention Mary's mother, I couldn't help but wonder how she felt when Mary said a hasty good-bye to take a 70-mile trip. Did concern for her daughter's well-being and safety occupy her thoughts? Did she wake up to pray in the dark of the night? 

Somehow this ancient un-named mother gave me courage as I said my own good-byes today. She invested years sharing biblical truth and practical knowledge, then moved out of the way to allow her daughter to follow God's leading. In the same way, I want to be supportive of all three of my daughters. I hope we've given them roots. Now it's time to give them wings (and wheels!). 

Empty? Yes, but with a heart full of thanksgiving and anticipation in a brand new year. 

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9 comments:

  1. So poignant and heartfelt. I love the idea that the glass (or home in this case) are never empty, when the heart is full. Thank you, Sarah!

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  2. You captured the comings and goings, the thoughts and feelings of every mother's heart, Sarah. Those tearful goodbyes never get easier. Our thoughts and prayers are always with our children. Blessed New Year to you, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl! You've walked this journey. Turning the corner to what God would have me pursue in 2019. Grateful for His direction and grace.

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  3. Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your real-life perspective in a way that blesses us, your reader(s) and honors our Lord. - Steve/Judy Cranston

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    1. Blessings, Steve and Judy. I appreciate your encouragement. May God bless you all in the new year!

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  4. Thank you for sharing your heart Sarah. Your words help my own heart process. I am grateful. Keep on following Jesus.

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    1. Oh, so true, although I was the one who arrived at my son's home, and had to drive away and leave the ones I loved so much. At a 3-year-old's comment that "we will facetime, Nana", I smiled and thanked God for that technology I never wanted in my home. And while we can share smiles and stories through facetime, we can't share hugs, so I have to trust those I love with a God who loves them even more. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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