Psalm 111:1 Praise the Lord! – I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
An empty nest, or at least what appeared to be from the camera angle I had from a kayak last week. Joshua, our youngest son, joined me for a float before he heads back to campus this week in Charlotte, putting in at One Mill Park and making our way up along the eastern banks of a choppy Pasquotank River. A home for an osprey, or some other winged creature. (If somebody knows what kind of nest this is, please be sure and share in the comments below so we can all learn!) I waited a bit wondering how long had it taken to build this nest, what was happening in the nest, and how long would it take before a bird came back to the nest?
When a family prepares for the arrival of a newborn, some might call this nesting. When out of town guests come for a visit, perhaps we tidy up, clean, vacuum, dust, and put new sheets on the guest room bed. Some might call this nesting. When you prepare for a seasoned citizen in your family who needs to come and stay with you for a while, and you make adjustments to your home so they’ll be safe, some might call this nesting.
Nesting. It’s a way to prepare for someone other than yourself. It’s a way to practice hospitality. It’s a way to share love with others. When we nest, it’s an opportunity to be our best and to do our best. As parents, Jackie and I had been nesting for nearly two decades, seeking to be and do our best for our two sons, Jacob and Joshua. Just like you have done for those you hold dear to your heart, my friends. You have probably been nesting at different stages of your own life, expending energy to create a home that was comfortable, loving, and safe.
And then, there’s an empty nest.
It happens too fast. Those times when you put your hand on the infant child in the crib, to make sure they were breathing. Those times when you sat around the kitchen table at dinner time, listening to the updates from their school day. Those times when you were able to look at old photos with your beloved seasoned citizen. The nest goes empty, and some call this your season of being an empty nester.
Sure, there are lumps-in-your-throat-days because you miss the daily interactions you once had. Some days your heart hurts, and your thoughts turn to days gone by. Yes, it takes time to find a new rhythm, as you carefully make your way, leaning into the next season.
The psalmist helps us as we lean: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
When did you last give thanks to the Lord with your whole heart? Jan Richardson helps us with this thought about the whole heart: “… to live in a way that recognizes that, broken though we may be, God sees us complete and is about the work of helping us live into that completeness, not just for ourselves but for and with one another” (http://paintedprayerbook.com/2015/01/25/epiphany-4-blessing-for-a-whole-heart/). So we give thanks with our whole heart – even when we face an empty nest.
I give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, that Jacob and Joshua are pursuing their dreams.
I give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart when I can share a float with Jacob in June and Joshua in August.
I give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, for those seasons of nesting and this season of empty nesting, in the company of you, my friends, in this Beacon District.
See you on the road, friends.
If you would like to view past editions of Driving with David, follow this link: https://beacondistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/