Almost a year ago, this lonely Mama, sitting forlornly in her empty nest, bemoaned the fact that her friendships seemed to be waning.
Both hubby and I experienced disconnects in various aspects of our lives and our social activity was one of those areas.
I chalk up a majority of those feelings to the empty nest syndrome, although in one very important part of our lives, there truly was a serious disconnect.
But in the case of feeling friendless and lonely, the shock of empty nest reality definitely contributed to those impressions. When you spend well over 25 years raising children, your life revolves around them and even many of your friendships and activities exist because of the season of parenting in which you’re ensconced.
One of the reasons I began writing my blog stemmed from those sensations of ambivalence and loneliness I encountered as I faced the empty nest. I needed an activity, a new hobby…something in which to devote time and attention.
I also realized I wanted something besides my job to feel passionate about. The timing seemed perfect to reconnect with my knack for writing, an art I used to engage in often but couldn’t afford spending time and energy doing during my child-raising days.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place.”
For me, that quote rings so true. When my last child, my son, graduated from college last spring, landed a promising full-time job in his field of study, and moved to another state to launch a new career and a new life, I grieved. Shortly before that, middle daughter, who lived at home after college to save money but drove a considerable commute to work, also moved into her own apartment in the city.
Combined that felt like a double whammy, and the full brunt of two of my children moving out coming less than a year after my father passed away slammed into me like a head-on collision. This overwhelming sense of bereavement definitely felt like losing a huge blessing.
But just as Lewis advised, I believe I’ve been granted other blessings, definitely most unexpectedly, in place of that loss. Writing this blog has been such a blessing for me. Stringing together emotions, thoughts, and ideas into words and pictures gives me much joy. Actually receiving feedback in the form of comments and encouragement from those who read my words adds to my pleasure.
My readers bless me immensely, even those who have not let me know they read my blog. I see their attention in my site stats on WordPress each day and I marvel to myself, “Wow, someone read my blog today!”
Some of my faithful readers reside in my neck of the woods and they encourage me just by simply telling me how much they enjoy reading this blog. One of my girlhood friends keeps urging me to write a book; another has suggested I write a devotional.
Other faithful readers are my Facebook friends – still people I personally know – some near, and some far away, some friends from days gone by – who also bless me with their uplifting comments and messages.
The experience reminds me of a charm bracelet. When I was a teenager, that jingly, jangly jewelry was all the rage and I wholeheartedly jumped on this fad bandwagon.
I added tiny symbolic mementos to my bracelet from places I visited or events that occurred in my life.
Family members and friends gifted charms to me; each one meant something special and that treasured bracelet loaded with jingling ornaments now rests in my jewelry box. I can still recall who gave each tiny trinket to me and what each one of them signifies. There’s a life story right there hanging on my silver bracelet.
Through my blog, I’ve gained new readers and ‘met’ fellow writers who have become friends as well. One fellow blogger in particular has become a cherished friend. We share a lot of commonalities, a similar outlook on life, and even more importantly, we share the same deep faith in God, which has given us a very real connection as friends.
If you had told me a year ago that I would find a precious friendship via the internet, I would have loudly proclaimed, “Hogwash!” (I don’t really use that word, but that’s what I would have said.) I’ve always been leery of cyberspace and my own children can regale you with tales of my consternation and admonishment to them to be careful online especially when making any personal contacts with people you don’t know. So here I am, eating my own words.
When I related the ways this new friend and I have connected, my oldest daughter replied with a chuckling twinge in her voice, “Mom, God gave you a new friend through the internet.” (Heavy emphasis on the word internet!) She didn’t say, “I told you so!” but I could hear it in her tone. And she was right. And I marvel in my belief that God surely does work in mysterious ways.
Recently, my new, sweet friend blessed my socks off. A package arrived at my country home and the return address was my friend’s. Oldest daughter watched me open the parcel and remarked, “Wow, Mom, your new friend is incredibly sweet.” She’s right….again.
There have been many bumps in the road of life lately here at Mama’s Empty Nest. Some detours. Some unexpected pitfalls. Some moments of insecurity. Moments when hubby and I are leaning heavily on our faith in the God who provides our needs. During this time, my new friend has been lifting me up in prayer. I know it even when she doesn’t tell me because I can feel it.
Her secret surprise package mailed to me made me feel special and loved with each beautiful item I lifted from the box. She told me when she saw these gifts, they screamed my name – Mama’s Empty Nest! She was right. They do!
I want to share with you the joy this friend (not just her gifts) brings me. The above photo shows the delightful adornments as they gracefully nestle among the other assorted items on my kitchen desk, thanks to my special friend.
Each time my eyes catch a glimpse of them, I think of her and our friendship and I thank God for that gift. Today in my book of Opportunity, Page 20, Chapter 5, I count it an abundant blessing to have been given wonderfully dear friends, some old, some very new. All of them are like silver keepsakes attached to my bracelet of life.
“When I count my blessings I count you twice.” ~ Irish Blessing