Empty nest? I'm mean, c'mon. Tell me one person who likes the sound of that?!!
Wanna know synonyms for "empty"?
The truth is my nest is not empty. For one thing, I'm still in it! And if you're married, your spouse is there, too! So literally, it's not empty (let's square that away off the bat).
My nest is, however, flexing. It's adjusting, adapting, and changing. In some ways, it's stretching, fine-tuning, and revamping. What was once four little chicks has become nine. I'm rearranging and repairing, fixing here and fixing there...throwing out here and adding in there.
Instead of an otherwise constant chirping when we were all at home, my nest now boasts bursts of joyous words and laughter, dancing melodies, sudden flashes of movement, a cacophony of sounds and rustling, a glorious clashing of notes tumbling throughout the confines of its well-worn and comfy walls.
And then comes the rest. A marked hush that allows me to take note of my blessings, a calmness where I can pause and listen for my own heartbeat...that quietness where I can dream, that silence that helps me distinguish between the lines of my life, the shifting seasons, the eloquence of negative spaces.
My nest, you see, is an orchestra. Each member of my family represents a unique instrument set to play in solo, in harmony, in symphony at their appointed time. God, I pray, stands as Conductor over His masterpiece.
You're saying, "But wait. That sounds good, yes. But this is really uncharted territory for me."
I get that. I've launched three children, plus a dear "son" who lived with my family for about five years. And I still have one in college at home. Transitions are really tough for most of us.
But I want to embrace this new season, not dread it! And since I'm in the "choose-2-think" business, a huge part of a smooth transition involves using words that accurately describe it.
Since "empty" nest does not exactly pass the test, I wondered if there was a better, healthier, more hopeful, and truthful way to frame this new period of my life.
My nest is not empty because although my little ones have flown the coop, some didn't fly far. And truth is they flit back in and out a LOT which is in itself a new kind of concerto. Also, the transition is gradual--an adagio, if you will. Typically, our fledglings only go one or two at a time, not the whole flock.
Their flitting in and out is especially common during their university years. Out for four months, back for one. Out for four months, back for three. And so it goes. Add to that their mates, future mates, their friends, and maybe their own babies flying in for a visit or two, and it's a kind of crazy, twisting, rolling range of extremes.
My nest must be ready to handle the growth, withstand such accommodation, shrink back during quiet periods, and absorb the needs of my adult children, near or far. This nest serves as a 24-hour safe-haven for those I love , where the doors are always open, and no knocking is required.
It's a sanctuary where new music is waiting to be composed and new songs are begging to be written.
What's more, my melodious nest is more accurately described as a tender area of my heart that will always be full and vibrant and alive with memories and traditions and milestones, expectations, and yes, a fair share of heartache. It's an opera at its very best.
You and I are both offered a unique opportunity when our nest seems so quiet to stretch our own wings a bit, to explore, prioritize anew, dream, go, serve, create, clear our throats and belt it out. Our repertoire of notes are broad, ranging from base to tenor, alto to soprano. We never knew we had it in us!
We can take up new hobbies and passions, enriching our nests with new flavors, sounds, aromas, and gadgets. Before we know it, our nests are so full, spilling over, yet ever so comfy in their bulging.
Indeed, the empty nest is a myth. Yes, we may feel the sadness and pain that comes through what appears to be a loss, but then in a blink, we hear our hearts playing a melody with the sweetest tune imaginable.
Our nests are full of sound, silence, pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, tempo, articulation, dynamics, timbre, and texture.
Our nests are not empty.
They are beautiful, messy, loud, hushed, fulfilling, wondrous, awe-inspiring, blessed, familiar yet unknown and divine symphonies.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
PS I enjoyed writing this post...although I felt the sting of tears a time or two. If you've been touched by this word of encouragement, please like and share on social media. :) xoxo
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