I was recently thinking about the past fifteen years or so, and how everything has changed for me during those years. Life, of course, is ever changing, never staying still. It’s like a river with currents; the current can flow along in the same path then something happens and the current moves. Perhaps a tree falls into the river, or silt builds up and it changes the way the water flows. Sometimes it changes the entire course of the river. Life is like that. It flows along smoothly with little or no apparent change, but things are happening under the surface. And one day it is all different.
I lived mostly alone for several years, with my two youngest children moving in and out of my home; sometimes there for a few days or a few weeks, and other times for longer periods of time. We were close, our lives intertwined in so many ways; new relationships, births, deaths, moving from here to there; new jobs, one special moment after another. Then my daughter’s life changed and she brought her two girls and herself to live in my home. We sat down and discussed our living situation; that sharing a home worked for us all, and so we decided to make it more or less permanent. We would share a house; I would pay the rent and utilities and she would buy the food, and we would be supportive of each other in whatever came along.
We went through several years sharing that little rental; two bedrooms and one bath, but the girls were getting bigger and space was getting tighter so it was decided that we should find a larger house. We found a house and moved in. All was well. My daughter did most of everything that was done around the house. She cooked and cleaned and took care of quite a lot of the yard work. I worked full time and she worked part time as she was unable to find full time employment. Again, everything flowed along smoothly and we were quite contented with our living arrangements. Then my son-in-law came along and after a time they married and moved to Colorado.
By this time my son was also stepping into the world of matrimony and life was changed for us all; new priorities, new ways, new people added into our family. And I was left with an empty house….truly empty for the first time ever. So I painted each of the bedrooms my granddaughters had occupied and turned one into an office and one a craft room. A short while later my son’s daughter came for a weekend visit with her grandmother and even knowing her cousins were no longer in my home, walking into their rooms was a shock for her. I’ll never forget how she just stood there staring at the change, tears forming in her eyes. I put my arms around her and whispered, “I know. I miss them too.” I don’t think their absence felt as strong to me before then, but standing there with her it was very overwhelming.
I took her with me on one of my visits to Colorado and she expressed how much she liked that visit and how much she missed her cousins. That move was good for my daughter and her family, but it changed our overall family; the current shifted, relationships changed. I miss those intimate visits with my daughter when she would come into my room and sprawl across the bed and we would just chat. We’re on the phone with each a lot, but it’s not the same as those quiet, just-her-and-me visits.
I remember long ago, when my children were just getting into their teens, my middle son used to come into my room and settle at the foot of my bed and talk; usually when he was supposed to be in bed, but he would talk about whatever was bothering him. Now his own children are teenagers and younger; he has good, high paying job and he is busy; with family and work. I not only don’t get those quiet little chats with him; I hardly ever hear from him. No time or he forgets; and he lives half across the country. My youngest son popped in the other day just for a visit before picking up his load (he’s a trucker) and it was wonderful, but doesn’t happen very often these days. And my oldest son and his wife are practically raising their grandson so now he doesn’t have a lot of time for Mom.
The currents have shifted, the course of the river is changing; and life goes on. It won’t stay the same; it will change again. As I get older, they get older and their children get older and start leaving home; and it all changes again. New seasons, new times, new life experiences and new things to adapt to. These cycles have gone on for thousands of years; families growing, branching out, breaking off; starting over again and then repeating. Sometimes it feels like love has moved away. It’s not gone, but it’s out of reach; growing up into its own time of change and renewal. God’s love was always so ever present in the family life that flowed around me like the blood flowing in my veins. Now God’s love is still ever present, but its so much quieter than it once was; not as boisterous or loud; gentle, subtle and not as filled with other voices. I’m not sure which way is best, but since here and now is what there is; then I know it is best to accept it and know, no matter the changes, God’s love never moves away and I can trust in that.