Impending empty nest

by Andrea Elizabeth

(Warning, I am about to indulge my slightly suppressed morbid side.)

I did not know if I was going to return safely from a weekend trip to the Rio Grand River Valley to attend a special person’s wedding reception and to commemorate her special sister’s college graduation. The reason for this premonition was that I tied up my loose ends before I left.  I sent back the kids’ home-school videos, sent off newly gf’d summer California son’s 21st birthday package containing 10yo daughter’s self sufficiently made cookies, sent off 16yo daughter’s first Etsy delivery, and 20yo son’s interview thank-you note which will hopefully make him more self-sufficient, brought along the newly careered college graduate 22yo son, left behind the soon to be surgically corrected, soon to be driving, 17yo son with his capable father, and feel that I have left the only Orthodox parish I have ever belonged to these 7 years (though a new home could be on the horizon). My work on this earth seemed finished. But as with all my near death experiences, not that anything happened this time but it could have!, I wake up and feel that there must be some reason I’m still alive, unworthy though I be. Maybe I’m learning detachment. On the way home I read a couple of pages from St. Maximus’ Four Hundred Chapters on Love. From the Second Century:

1. The one who truly loves God also prays completely undistracted, and the one who prays completely undistracted also truly loves God. But the one who has his mind fixed on any earthly things does not pray undistracted, therefore the one who has his mind tied to any earthly thing does not love God.

10. If you hate some people and some you neither love nor hate, while others you love only moderately and still others you love very much, know from this inequality that you are far from perfect love, which lays down that you must love everyone equally.