I received a note from a good friend who is reading the book Susan Yates and I wrote, Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest. She wrote,
“Read more of the book last night and am so glad I did. I really drank in the chapter on loneliness. Between ministry and life stages I was so comforted by what I was doing right, reaching out to new friends, enjoying my ‘time,’ but I like the ‘why’ best. It made me feel so NORMAL. Normal is a nice word to feel! Hooray!”
She is so right. It’s good to feel that what we feel is normal. We are so prone to comparing our life experience with what we think someone else is feeling, making the assumption that the other person has it better.
And hasn’t that always been true for so many of us? When we were younger and had little kids it seemed to appear that other people’s children were more well-behaved or cleaner or happier or whatever it was we valued and didn’t have.
One of the blessings of this empty nest season in life is a greater contentment in who I am and who God has made me. It doesn’t mean I’m always happy about my life and how I’m wired, but I have learned not to stress about it as much. I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I was years ago.
I was thinking about this today in relation to my marriage and how grateful I am for my husband. Yes, he is sinful and so am I, but how wonderful it is that we both understand our weaknesses and are more gracious with those flaws. I’d hate to start over with a whole new set of weaknesses and another person’s sinfulness.
Having it all together is impossible. Knowing that is good. It makes daily living with the normal transitions of life normal.