Hauntingly lonely. Those were the words that came to my mind as we walked in late after dropping our ‘baby’ off to fly away to school.
Having dropped her off very early that morning Jim and I had spent a lovely day together, albeit punctuated by glances at the clock and calculations as to where Rachel would be by now…
‘Ah. She’s getting on the plane now…She’s realizing how tired she is…Oh. She’s arriving in Houston… Oh, she’s on the last leg of her trip—must be relieved and excited…Ah. She’s heading for the baggage claim and shuttle to meet the others. So exciting. So tired..’
As her long awaited dream was taking shape before her eyes we were doing rather ordinary things… riding tandem in the balmy morning…sitting in traffic and more traffic…. shopping at at Costco… waiting for ferries, driving home…
But then we’d arrived home and oh how empty the house felt– hauntingly lonely. Mechanically, automatically as is our custom no matter how late we get in, we unloaded the van and began putting away our few things– toiletries, laundry, groceries in their old places, warding off words that might lead to disabling tears. It all seemed rather strange, this rattling around as a two-some in a house meant for a family. But as part of the familiar process we checked the mail, and there was just the reminder I needed. Yes, our house is haunted. It’s haunted by grace. God knew just what I’d need…
In the mailbox just outside the front door, tucked in with a letter for Rachel from a pen-pal, was a handmade card from old missionary friends we trained with. Our babies were babies together and then our paths parted to far-flung places. They are just returning to their post after sending their youngest off to university. The opening words were: “We have come to another chapter in our lives…” How apropos! What am I whining about; their children are whole continents away!
It was a short note, a grateful one acknowledging the Lord’s goodness, grace, protection and leading in each of their children’s lives…and it closed with a prayer from Colossians: “that you continue to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (1:10) Somehow it was just the reset that I needed, like a silent assurance that God sees, God is pleased, God has purposes yet for our lives. Continue to walk… This is all we need to do. Just keep walking with Him. Our roles may be changing but the underlying purposes for our lives have not changed. We are still here to know Him and live for His pleasure, whatever that may entail.
We are not alone, never have been, never will be. When Jesus went away He promised not to leave His disciples as orphans. And so He hasn’t. The Holy Spirit is alive and well here residing in us to strengthen, encourage and enable us to do all that He will yet call us to do, including living with contentment in every circumstance! The Voice of God still echoes off the pages of His Word filling our empty moments with grace. We shall survive and thrive in this our haunted home for His pleasure.
And may you too be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light!
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph.3:20,21