Cross-Cultural Empty Nesting
The empty nest isn’t just an American phenomenon. Today I met with a group of empty nest friends in Nairobi, Kenya. As I shared some of the discoveries that Barbara and I made in writing our book, I wondered if these women would identify with what we found or if the cultural experiences would be too different.
The nods, laughter, and tears on the faces around me quickly confirmed that no matter what our skin color or tribe or country, each of us experiences similar feelings as we navigate this unusual season in our lives.
When I expressed the feelings of fear, loss, a sense of being “fired” from my primary calling of motherhood, added to the silent wondering if these feelings are “normal” or if anyone else understands, these women responded with a “yes.” They too face the challenges of how to relate to their husbands in this season, of how much to be involved in the lives of their adult children, and particularly of how to define who they are now, and most importantly how to discover what to do next.
My Kenyan friends also long for a fresh purpose. They are tired and need a break. For them, as for each of us, the future is uncertain—politically, financially, and personally. Yet in the midst of uncertainty, these women are seeking to make a positive difference in their communities.
Two things became clear as we shared honestly with one another.
- There is great comfort in the company of other women—a kind of comfort that females understand and need from each other! Girls need girlfriends no matter where they live.
- There is the reassurance that although we don’t know how our kids will turn out, or what our future holds, we do know that Jesus never changes. He alone is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He will never leave us. We can count on Him
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.