I am the father of a 22-year-old son who recently moved out of the house. My wife works at a local craft store full time, but I have been unable to work the last few years due to a degenerative chronic illness. Usually it seems the women grieve an “empty nest” more than the men, but since I was the one around the house with my son, I feel like it is impacting me more than ever. I’m quickly getting depressed about how quiet is & how, well, dull my life actually is without the energy of my son here. Where do I go from here? -Jonathan
Jonathan, it’s interesting that you should bring this up. My best friend (Kathleen Y’Barbo) & I just wrote a book for Empty Nest moms titled, “The House is Quiet. . .Now What?” In it, we deal with nine specific issues that empty nesters face. As you mentioned, men face these issues, too. And I can imagine how much tougher it must be with your chronic illness.
I do feel that I can relate. I’m both an empty nester & a person who struggles with autoimmune arthritis, & the days can get tough. In the very first chapter of our book, we deal with feelings of aloneness. We pose the question: “Is aloneness really a bad thing?” I want you to contemplate all of the many times the Lord called his people to seasons of aloneness with Him. Moses had his tent of meeting. David spent time in the cave. The apostles met with Jesus in the Garden. Sometimes I think we need a new perspective on aloneness. Instead of seeing it as a curse, it’s time to reanalyze it as a potential blessing. Could it be that this season of your life is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with the Lord?
Maybe He’s calling you into the Holy of Holies to commune with him on a level you’ve never experienced before, & having more free time actually gives you the chance to meet Him there. With the house empty, you can turn on the worship music & sing with ab&on, getting real & honest with the Lord about how you feel.
Even though our book is for women, the principles would be the same for a man. I’ve love to offer you a copy at no cost, my gift to you. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address & I’ll drop a copy in the mail. The book is loaded with tips/advice/ideas for empty nesters, all to remind you that this stage/phase of your life is a new beginning, an opportunity to live out dreams you might have tucked away while you were raising your son. Yes, you’re in a new season. But remember, seasons never last long. What you’re feeling will pass, & on the tail end of this sadness, you’re going to experience a new birth. Just hang on for the ride! And feel free to contact me when you’re ready for a copy of the book.
Janice Hanna Thompson is the Christian author of over fifty books for the Christian market. She is an empty nest mom who lives with two naughty dachshunds. (Truthfully, the dogs are harder to raise than the kids were.) Janice battles psoriatic arthritis & also uses a CPAP for sleep apnea. In spite of her struggles, she chooses to praise the Lord “in the storm” & hopes to encourage others along the way with her writings. Be sure to visit her website for a wide-variety of books!