Tuesday, 23 August 2011

There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams, and plenty

23 August Tuesday proper 16 (again, due to technical difficulties these are not being posted in the correct sequence, sorry!)

1 Kings 1:38-2:4
There is great celebration as Solomon begins his reign as king.

Beginnings are often marked by great celebration.
Twenty-five years ago today I celebrated the beginning of my marriage. The marriage has been over for eight years now, and even when we were married, circumstances had a way of keeping us from celebrating together on the anniversary day.
But for some reason today all day I felt myself on the verge of tears. I had a very busy day, with lots to do. and I went out for a pleasant dinner with a friend who had no idea what day it was and gave me plenty of reason to be distracted. But still, as I write this, I have a strange sense of relief that the clock has just moved past midnight.
I think my emotion is not so much about the 25th itself as about the fact that I happen to be facing another transition.

Fears about past failures tend to loom larger in the presence of another significant change.
Plus, in the perfect world I envisioned for myself 25 years ago, my husband and I would have been taking our youngest off to college together and looking forward to a new chapter -- an empty nest we would be sharing.
Instead, two weeks from today I will return alone, to an empty house. Well - not empty - there will be the three cats.

I have tried to make this blog stick to general principles, reflecting on the experience many people have in emptying the nest. It may seem that I have failed at doing that in this entry, turning it into the classic self-indulgent pity party. But actually, I think it gets at a central issue facing all whose nests are emptying.
That is, this is a time of evaluating life. Certain dreams either came true or they did not -- and the time when the last child leaves home IS the end of one chapter. There were hopes and expectations for life at this marker time, and they either have or have not been met.
It is a time to reflect realistically. So much of our identity is tied up with who we spend our time with. Now it is an inescapable fact that most of my time will no longer be with my children; nor, for now, will it be with a committed partner, as I had once assumed it would be.

In a way, I am back to where I was when I finished college myself -- only with many more responsibilities and commitments.
Hmmm - it is another beginning. Only, unlike Solomon, I don't expect a parade.

Gracious God, thank you for those dreams which have already been fulfilled.
Give me new dreams and the way and will to accomplish them.

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