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.