All the Hollow Spaces

In that half asleep, half awake split second out of deep sleep into consciousness I recognized a familiar, yet unwelcome guest. I think its name is Loneliness, a fear, a void, darkness.

Today was the first day after the Holidays back to “normal,” back to the Empty Nest. We enjoyed the temporary return of our youngest child from college and a surprise visit form our middle child and her youngest, our little granddaughter.

The house was fuller. Certainly the presence of a 15 month old fills up every nook and cranny with giggles and cries, toys, cheerios, play dough ground into the carpet, dolls, dirty diapers… We have gone from days of a full house, meals at a full table, every bed in use, games together, to “just us” and that uninvited guest. It threatened to fill me with the void, a hollow, empty feeling, dissatisfaction, fear, loneliness.

Empty nest. Not sure what the connotation for it is. Sometimes it is that giddy feeling of no responsibility and possibilities. Like a teenager experiencing freedom for the first time. Sometimes, it feels like a depressing label, a sentence to solitude in an abyss. It feels like living in the age of “remember when.” Yet, this is my life. I refuse to let it be a place of used to be. Instead, it is the era of wonderful memories, of special visits, of watching our children be wonderful adults, and of the best gig on the planet- being grandparents.

I must guard my heart and my thoughts to stay here in “today” –This is the day that the Lord has made. There is no room here for fear or loneliness’s ugly presence. All those hollow spaces are waiting to be filled with joy- whatever the new day brings.

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