I’m pedaling my stationary bike again this morning. And reading the Ensign. The two go hand in hand. Something about the two together makes me contemplate eternity and all things pertaining to it.
I’m an empty-nester now and something happens when you no longer have children at home to live your life as an example for. It’s a twenty-something feeling a second time around. At twenty one looks into their bag of values, that they’ve been collecting since birth, and decides how they will live. What path they will follow. You do that again when the kids leave. I’ve watched and seen many empty-nesters have at least a temporary ‘inactive’ period in the church. Some permanent.
When the kids have grown, it feels kind of like you’ve crossed the finished line of a major race and you are(believe me) just glad to still be standing. And you’re mulling around, exchanging slaps on the back with fellow finishers, when suddenly it hits you, “What now?”.
When the kids were young, church was a challenge, just to get there on time with four pair of (matching)shoes on four pair of feet. To make it through Sacrament without a major disturbance, or any hurt feelings, and leave the chapel without leaving part of you behind. It was such an accomplishment! And we made it there every Sunday or nearly so, illnesses excepted.
Now church is—tooo easy. No one bothers me while I try to get ready. I take my time deciding on an outfit that doesn’t make me look fat. I have time(and money finally) to buy myself matching shoes for my dress. I even get to put on two coats of mascara. Three if I want. I hear every word spoken in Sacrament, Sunday School and Relief Society. And I find myself wondering if I can stand this for fifty more years!
If it sounds like I’m whining because I have to cross the prairie on a plane, taking four hours, instead of a covered wagon, taking three months(or however long that was). I guess I am.
When I first got married and life was bliss, I remember deciding to study the scriptures with real zeal to make sure my testimony was strong enough to withstand trials that I knew would come. And come they did. And I withstood them. But how do I gain a testimony to buck you up during monotony and ease?
Of course, I know the answer. I need to find service to give, a mom who needs help, a challenge I can overcome. But somehow it was easier when it was harder. When the challenges were immediate and demanding. Now, I don’t have to face the agenda, I have to make it.
I know many of you only dream of this day, but it’s coming. And you will spend more of your life with your children gone, than you will with them there. Let me say that again, you will spend more of your life with your children gone than you will with them there. Are you living your life as an example for them? Who will you live for when they are gone? You can of course wait until later to decide. I’ve made most of my best decisions before hand though. Dating, temple marriage, word of wisdom, etc. I just didn’t see this one coming.