Rearranging My Nest

The TV had been blaring football games and commercials for hours when he came in. We  piled around on couches and chairs---his brother, stretched out on one couch nursed crushed vertebrae from last Thursday’s football practice. His sister, his brother-in-law and baby niece, all were gathered before the flat screen in the great room.

Dad slash grandfather, the only one who might have known how much I wanted that moment, watched over the chocolate cake on the counter, monitored its disappearance from the plate. The cake policeman turned back the teenager from taking just about a fourth of it in one serving.

And I was there, waiting all day for the boy to drive through the delta and walk in the door of our house. When he arrived, my longing to have them all here would close the hole in my heart.

I realize my writing of late reveals that I am struggling with rearranging my nest.

The past two Sunday nights, Jeff and I have been out driving during the time the switches happen. We saw them at the dairy bar, the fast food chain, the gas station, and at the barbeque restaurant. Kids with backpacks and suitcases rock back and forth on legs stretched between momma and daddy. As far as I could tell they were amicable trade-offs after the weekend likely spent with dad.

I witness the switches, a lump crawls up my throat and I swallow hard, hold back the tears. My family broke apart when I was thirteen. I don’t know the circumstances I am witnessing and I cannot judge. Still my heart breaks open.

The boy no longer has his own bedroom. He sleeps in the guest room. He is far from a guest in my home, in my heart.

He plays with the yellow dog in the back yard. He pulls out the compound bow to show his dad and brother how accurate he has gotten practicing in the bow room where he works. I slip out and watch him hit his marks. I give him the “at a boy” that feeds his temperament.

I notice him gathering things. I know it won’t last much longer and the door will swing the other way. The boy, or should I say man, will drive back between the fields to the town where he will study and work and live.

His countenance shows his slight hesitation as he rocks back and forth between leaving the yellow dog that he loves and heading on. Finally, he hugs all around, crawls in the big red truck and drives away.

As we stand in the driveway, I swallow hard like I do when I happen upon the switches on Sunday nights. It is not the same and I know it, just feels the same.

This morning I pray:

God, give me the grace to rearrange this nest. The hours he was under my roof were your gift----the years under my wing, the greater gift. Help me understand as You do that with blessing also comes pain. This is right and it hurts. Make me treasure it as a beautiful gift of grace.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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