I’m writing from the heart today, so if you want pictures, I apologize. There are no cameras within my soul, except for what my fingers can tap into this post. I am taking a hard look at where I am in this empty nest stage of life. While searching for a better blogging strategy, I stumbled on Just a Girl and Her Blog and her post about changing her morning routine. That post stirred something up! You know. That feeling deep in your gut that reminds you of areas that need tweaking. It was almost like hearing a sermon that resonates within you that makes you fall on your knees.

I realized that one of the reasons I seem so dissatisfied with my own routine is because my life has been out of balance for some time now. This is a conversation that my friend Connie and I used to have all the time, so I wondered as I read that post, if she’d ever found her own balance. Then I ran into her while shopping on Black Friday. Isn’t it funny how things like that happen? We stood in the mall, catching up as best as we could in 20 minutes, promising to get in touch.

I came home and re-read the post and decided to implement some of Just a Girl’s changes into my own morning routine. I’ve made the excuse (for the last 4 years) since my daughter started college, that I don’t get as much done every day because I’m just not a morning person. Never have been and never will be, so I sort of just gave in to what I’ve referred to as a “personality trait”. I’ve been telling myself that I work better in the afternoon and night, so I stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning. I mean, Mr. Cozi is gone by 5 am and there are no kids in the house, so why get up early? Two thoughts came to mind from her post… Routines are good because they keep you engaged.

Your routines keep you engaged with relationships, and your own health. So, beginning with my most important relationship, I decided to choose a devotional from my library and start reading again every morning. This used to be a treasured time before my nest emptied. It’s as if my nurturing was no longer needed, so I didn’t need my Nurturer either. WRONG!!! Another one of those aha moments happened when I read this paragraph in Lois Mowday Rabey’s book, Women of a Generous Spirit:

Claudette gave me hope. She had suffered a similar loss, yet the optimism she showed withstood scrutiny. It was no sugarcoated religious cliché that she pulled out of some spiritual name-it-and-claim-it box. She told me the truth. The fullness of her life was entwined with threads of grief. Claudette’s life showed me that peace and pain can coexist.

Her friend Claudette had suffered the loss of her spouse, yet she was still able to be a friend when she was needed. And where did this ability come from? Her relationship with her Father. My nest may currently be entwined with threads of grief over no longer having my kids close to me, but my life can be full. Peace and pain can coexist. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not grieving over the success of their lives. There is a great sense of peace that they have found their niche and are living happy lives. It’s the balance of routine, the nurturing and great satisfaction of being needed that I miss.

If you wrestle with wanting the peace to overshadow the pain, like I do, then stay tuned over the next few days. Women of a Generous Spirit has a list of questions at the end of each chapter that addresses how we can become women of a generous spirit. I will be answering those questions here – from my heart – without any sugarcoated clichés. It is my prayer that this will lead to a more balanced life.

As my friend Marcia says so beautifully, “if for just one”… Tomorrow’s post will begin with how we who struggle with peace vs. pain, might return to being women with a generous spirit. Women who change direction and turn back to their Nurturer; women who realize that a few twigs of grief do not make up the whole nest and that peace and purpose can coexist with grief, all while leading to a more nourishing life.  If you are that “just one” who wants a more balanced life, let’s explore and begin the journey together. Women with a generous spirit glean that same satisfaction of being needed by their children by meeting the nurturing needs of those outside the nest.

Balancing Life in an Empty Nest

See you in the morning, after I’ve completed my new morning routine.

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