Birds are meant to fly.
When a mom-bird lays her eggs, she does so in a softly-lined nest. As her little ones crack through their shells they are met with a feathered world, padded to ease them into the maturing process. Mom feeds, nurtures and notes their growth. And then, at the appropriate time, she makes changes because she knows her offspring can’t stay in the nest forever.
Sarah Bessy, author of Out of Sorts writes, “When I was preparing to leave home, my mother used to joke about ‘putting prickles in the nest.’ She had read somewhere that when the time comes for baby birds to learn to fly, the mother birds put sticks or thorns in their nests. By making the nest uncomfortable, the mother bird is actually giving her babies a gift: the gift of flight and growth. Discomfort causes the baby birds to embrace their fundamental self as one who takes wing.”
…embrace their fundamental self as one who takes wing.
We have been fortunate to have all of our sons live within an hour of our home since they moved out over the last few years. However, last Friday our youngest son and his wife drove off with their little red car packed to the roof. They have moved to Ontario – four provinces away.
Watching them pull away flooded me with emotion. As the one left behind, it’s difficult to see beyond the losses. We’ll miss their presence at our monthly family celebrations, and I’ll grieve not working alongside Eric at Food for the Hungry. We won’t share dinners or spontaneous outings or get to hug them nearly as often.
But as they waved, I also felt excitement for them. The grand adventure of being young and heading into a new season, establishing a home, entering a Master’s degree program for Eric and new work for Riley, is exhilarating. I’m genuinely happy for them.
And, nothing will ever be the same.
That sounds a bit melodramatic because I know that’s true of every day we are given. I’m always older tomorrow, a bit more experienced in something, even when the days are ordinary and regular.
Then big transitions hit and the implications of decisions made by others land squarely in my lap. Of course I don’t want my kids to live far away. But I also don’t want them to stay close if it means missing something God is calling them to do.
Separation is hard. But I know in my core that my role is not to feather the nest to keep my babies in. My job is to free them, to bless them, and to celebrate winged flight. I know that.
But it doesn’t make it easy.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst