Playdates with God: The Night Between Two Days


This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. 


Yesterday afternoon when Jeff returned from three days gone, we went for a walk together. In this season of the almost-empty nest, we have been doing this most days we are together: walking. We did not settle into this easily, both longtime runners. Jeff has always said to me, “If I’m going to walk, I may as well run.” But we have both had injuries lately, and running has been way of testing recovery rather than a regular practice. In some ways we have been forced into the walking. But God has come along, and he has surprised us with the joy of being together as our bodies move through space and time.

We have been moving through what Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés calls the Life/Death/Life nature. The Life/Death/Life nature is “a cycle of animation, development, decline, and death that is always followed by reanimation.” All relationships experience many deaths, she says, and the way to deep, fulfilling love is to not give up through the seasons of death.

When lovers are able to tolerate the Life/Death/Life nature, when they are able to understand it as a continuum—as a night between two days—and as the force that creates a love that endures a lifetime … Then together they are strengthened, and both are called to deeper understanding of the two worlds they live in, one the mundane world, the other the one of spirit.”

When I began planning playdates with God, he called me into his presence alone. But lately I have sensed him leading me to give up my alone time and spend it with my husband. We are emerging from a dark season, and some days, the night is still upon us. But most days, the dawn spreads through the moments with ever-increasing light.

So many fear the many deaths in relationship. I have feared the slow emptying myself. I have believed that the death will be followed by more death—that the ending of one thing means the end of all. Through faith and trust, I held on, even when I felt like running away. And I have discovered the truth: our God is a God of resurrection. He is always fostering new life.

Rather than seeing the archetypes of Death and Life as opposites, they must be held together as the left and right side of a single thought. It is true that within a single love relationship there are many endings. Yet, somehow and somewhere in the delicate layers of the being that is created when two people love one another, there is both a heart and breath. While one side of the heart empties, the other fills. When one breath runs out, another begins.”~Dr. Estes in Women Who Run with the Wolves

In this time of the almost-empty, God keeps surprising me with my own emotions. That my heart can still quicken at my husband’s return, that there are still mysteries within this one I thought I knew completely, that love is a creature that thrives when it is cared for tenderly.

As I turn more toward my husband during this season of the almost-empty, I feel myself turning more toward God—leaving behind the fear of the night.

And there is beauty in the dying.

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Almost Empty


  1. says

    You are going to love the empty-nester season, Laura … once you get used to it. 😉 I am something of an almost empty-nester because my son who is a sophomore in college is home this semester, but will return to his college campus in the new year. So my hubby and I have had about 8 or 9 months of having an empty-nest, but honestly even when our son is here, he’s gone an awful lot! Thankfully my hubby and I are utilizing this time together in all sorts of ways. We always try to have a date day &/or night on Friday and that’s been much easier to make time for with an empty nest. I hope that you find it to be just as encouraging to your marriage as I feel like ours has been for us.

  2. says

    Ah yes… so many things I love about this post, my friend! The walks… (although sorry to hear of the injuries!) My Honey and I love to walk together as well. The whole Life/Death/Life cycle… it’s funny how you can ‘know’ it, but in the midst of Death… you are convinced that Life will not come again! There really is so much beauty in dying – which is one of the reasons I love Fall so much! All the glory in holding on until it is time to let go!

    • says

      This is a beautiful time of year to be walking! I miss running on a regular basis, but honestly? I’m thinking about doing both when I can. The time together is so wonderfully wonderful 🙂

  3. says

    My initial gut reaction to learning the name of your 31-days is that I don’t know if this series is going to kill me or save my life! 😉 I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. If you say things like “always followed by reanimation,” then yes, it’s going to be life-giving. Thank you a million times.

    Funny, with the guys in 12th, 9th, and 5th grades, I know it’s a stretch to call myself an almost-empty-nester. But that’s what it feels like sometimes.

    • says

      I understand, Monica. Everyone is so busy, even down to the youngest, it seems. We can easily miss each other, can we not? This is what this series is about–trying to be present as we journey through this time.

  4. says

    Your words here, Laura, have much to give. I will need to return again, and maybe again. Sit longer and ponder much. I sense a healing here. A bit of a change to the cadence of the dance for you, and for that I am so grateful. Blessings.

  5. says

    Well, I’m so glad to know there’s a lovely, technical title for what I’ve always just called seasons in a marriage. They are so cyclical – round and round it goes. Hopefully, it’s an upward facing spiral, with what we’ve learned from past ‘deaths’ coming to bear in the midst of the next one. Even after (almost) 50 years, I find this to be true. And yes, the heart can still quicken when reunion after separation happens. Or . . . as happened to us just two weeks ago . . . sometimes not so much. 🙂 We worked it through about 24 hours later, thank God. With aging, also comes exhaustion, you know? My husband learned the hard way that he can’t travel quite as full-steam-ahead as he once could.

    • says

      I don’t know why it always surprises me that there is still newness in this old relationship, but only God know a heart completely, right? So I keep trying to learn new things about my husband, and there is always something. That’s a beautiful thing, dontcha think? I still don’t think of you as “aging,” Diana. Only getting better and better 🙂

  6. says

    Your words often cause a yield in my day, a pause so that I can think and reflect. This nature, life and death together…cycling, it is so deep a reality that we easily miss he true nature of it. I am pondering well the offering you have left and thankful for this gentle premise of hope you shared. Your walking will lead to our running. Hab 2:2😊


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