It's happiness and grieving all at once.
There are two particular things that have touched my heart in my search for peace over these impending changes. The first came from the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. She wrote,
"I watch the hands move grace on the clock face.
I'm growing older. These children growing up. But time is not running out.
This day is not a sieve, losing time.
With each passing minute, each passing year,
there's this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time."
What if, instead of looking at the growing older and eventual nest leaving as loss.....I look at it as gain?
Picture a giant colander. I have been looking at life in a way that meant, as my children grow and leave, more of my life will seep through the holes and disappear until all that's left is the empty colander.
But that's not really true. My children growing up does not mean that everything we have experienced is gone. Those relationships will still be there...they will just be different. Our memories will still be there, too.
Even if they aren't living in our house our bond will still be real and our relationship meaningful. And, eventually, new relationships will grow to include spouses and grandchildren and, God willing, great grandchildren.
So, here's my thought...
Rather than an empty colander....my life is like a beautiful trifle.
Each stage just adds a new layer.
My life is more, not less.
With this perspective, I can focus on rejoicing, not so much on grieving. Enjoy where I'm at more completely instead of just fearing its end.
I can embrace the words Fr. Dave gave as a quote at the talk I attended last week, which is the second thing that brought me peace:
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."