There is a sad-gladness in returning home after a long awaited trip has ended.
So it was very good that my Sunday homecoming made me feel infinitely precious. After dinner and the all important walk with the dogs, our empty nest settled down in front of the television to pick up the threads of our common everyday life. But I’ll be forever glad that I looked away from the story unfolding on the television to catch a better story being told within my husband’s loving eye that I found focused on me. As our eyes met, I watched the love in his eyes slip down his face to his mouth to break into a huge smile of gladness. “I’m so happy you’re home,” he’d offered up, just in case I missed the message spoken by the preface of his glance and smile.
By Monday, it was time to slip back into reality, into my repetitive world of everyday life. As I went out to tend my garden, I found the aphids were back in full force to dirty up the leaves of my potted citrus trees; and that the old ailing Magnolia tree was once again littering the back yard by dropping its leaves into a messy mass. Sometimes as I stoop down to pick up leaves it reminds me of all the past times I stooped to pick up my youngest son’s socks. So I have Kyle to thank for preparing me for life with this old messy Magnolia.
Weekend get-aways come to an end but everyday life goes on without end, with or without my presence. Laundry builds up, dust gathers on table tops and floors become dirty. And each cries out for attention, just like a young babe who needs nourishment. Yesterday, as I tended to the repetitions of everyday life, I found they in turn nourished me by helping me shake off the lingering sadness of saying goodbye to friends I will not see (at least all in one place) for another three to four years — if our repetitive cycle keeps to the same schedule.
The repetitive nature of life turns my mind to these words of Søren Kierkegaard:
“If God himself had not willed repetition, the world would never have come into existence. He would either have followed the light plans of hope, or He would have recalled it all and conserved it in recollection. This He did not do, therefore the world endures, and it endures for the fact that is a repetition. Repetition is reality, and it is the seriousness of life.”
The sun comes up and goes down; the seasons change as summer slips into autumn, and my lungs breathe in and breathe out the air of life. And with each breath, my heart grows lighter and I know that everyday life and the repetition of housekeeping and gardening and the making of meals for my empty nest family somehow feeds my soul and the creative spirit that lies within me. And as lovely as my weekend was, and as good as it was to see the familiar ageless faces of my best and oldest girlfriends, it is the routine comfort of these four walls and my husband’s loving glance and hugs that remind me of the reality of an everyday God, who lives without end. Amen and amen.