After I left home for university, the first thing my mum said was that the house was much quieter. I couldn’t tell if she thought that was a positive or a negative thing. I think perhaps it was both.
September brings season change, our knitted jumpers are coming back out and the heating is being turned on. For thousands of parents and carers, there’s an empty bed at home, as kids turn into adults and start university life. I’ve prayed with many parents through their fears and tears as they watch their kids transition life stage. It’s big thing. Even when the change is positive, like for higher education, there’s still a sense of loss, as one season ends.
The empty nest might not resonate with you in your context right now. But when we think of a loved one we can no longer pick up the phone to for some advice about a problem at work, or we remember how much the old family dog used to love it when you kicked up autumn leaves for them to catch, we can all get an empty feeling for a moment.
When I think of loss in my life, even in the midst of good change and new experiences, I often find that prayer helps. Not a prayer to fix it, to bring back the good old days or to take away the grief of change. But instead, I pray for God to fill what feels empty, with a sense of gratitude for what has been, and a peace about what will be. The empty nest is a space for new possibility and allows time to reflect and be grateful for the season that has passed.
Father God, today we think about season changes and the loss and joy of these times. Help us to be grateful for the past, to not rush the present, and to be hopeful for the future. Fill our empty spaces with peace. Amen.
Blog taken from BBC Radio 4's 'Prayer For The Day': listen HERE to the broadcast (none of us were up at 5.43am after all!)
Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash