Friday, February 11, 2011

the measure of love

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd write a few posts on love ...

Though our three sons have been gone for some time now, through marriage and/or jobs elsewhere, it seems I'm only now sensing a true empty nest. I became a mother over 27 years ago, and that role doesn't leave as they pack up their rooms.

Letting go isn't so neat and tidy. In the ten years since our oldest left for college, call me slow, but I think I've only been rehearsing for the empty nest. These years, I've decided, don't really count.

Anyway, it's cool how God delivers the tiniest message of reassurance that He understands. This week I received a card in the mail in which the sender referred to one of my children. It ended with, "you did good." Just three little words that serve as a powerful reminder that most of my job as mother is over.

Too, those words encourage me that the sacrifice, sweat, tears and broken bones (I once broke my arm for one of my kids) of motherhood have ended well. Not perfectly, but well. And accomplished by the wisdom and grace of almighty God who loaned me my four children for a time.

The fact is, I can't sit on my mom emotions as I would a bulging suitcase, hoping to snap it shut. My overwhelming feelings pop out in my thoughts, words and actions from time to time. As Elisabeth Elliot so aptly put it, "emotions are the most unreliable things in the world."

So. I let go not because I want to or feel like it or hope to feel good about it. I do it as a matter of the will. We raised these children as best we could and now release them, like it or not. I hope that someday, as my kids release their own children, they will know the measure of their love by how hard it is to let go.

They may have packed up their rooms, but I'm finding it harder to pack up my heart.

1 comment:

Bonnie Hudson said...

Well said, Barb. Thanks for sharing.