Most of our lives are spent in the busy days. The days of mostly eating and sleeping lead to the days of mostly discovering and playing, leading to the days of school and activities, leading to the days of friend-centered dependence-independence, leading to the days of complete independence, leading to the days of marriage, leading to the days of children, and those are the days when we would give anything for a day to ourselves..
That day – and more like it – come too soon. For those for whom our families have been the center of our worlds come the lonely days, the days when we sit back wondering how the busy days passed so quickly..
It wasn’t that long ago that my house was a turnstile of activity: kids – some mine, some not – coming and going, snacks and meals in continuous supply, schoolwork here, lessons there, life lessons and moments of intense fellowship in between.
Then life abruptly shifted, or at least the shift felt abrupt. My role has changed and is changing as our grown kids establish their own footing in the world. Many days and some nights I spend alone, longing to relive the years that passed so very quickly.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Today was one such day. My sick husband had quarantined himself in his home office while I sought to identify and decimate every speck of dirt throughout the house. The house was quiet; even my dogs were quiet. In the quiet moments, self-pity threatened to crowd out every other thought. But self-pity starts and ends with self, and self is the last thing I need to think about. Turning on some worship music, it was time to put my focus elsewhere.
Changing your focus is always the antidote to the lonely days. These can be the days of fulfilling long-denied dreams and goals, the days of paying for dinners for two, the days of the gym membership for which you never had time before, the days of lunches with friends, the days of establishing your ministry niche, the days of actually having time to attend Bible studies, the days of shopping just for yourself (imagine!).
Instead of lonely days, most of my days are again busy ones, though the busyness of these days looks very different from the busyness of days past. Work and ministry consume much of my time; preparations for an upcoming family wedding consume additional time and thoughts. Our family is changing as new families are being formed. And all is as it should be.
I will always miss the days that are past. But I wouldn’t miss the days that are coming for all the world. I love the people God has added to our family, and I love the people our grown children have become. I am blessed, and I am never truly alone. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.