I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. Psalm 102:6,7
(my lament asÂ my nest gets emptier)
Jim used to ask kids to point their finger at their temple and say the letters T M over and over quickly. Of course kids would do it and as they would say the letters it would slur together and form the word “empty” as they pointed at their brains! Together they would laugh at the joke.
Well, today I could point at more than my head. Today, my house is empty. So is my bank account and my refrigerator. And today I am having a little trouble seeing the fullness of life in my glass. I am finding it difficult to focus on the good parts of emptiness. While I am celebrating what I once had, my family, I think I would not feel this emptiness if Jim was still alive. He isn’t. I have been empty before and had emptiness in my life. This is not any different but it feels deeper today than usual.
Empty can mean the absence of something in the wallet or the nest but it also offers the idea of possibility as I can choose how I fill my time and thoughts; I have more time to ponder some of the memories I have stored in my heart over the last 35 years. I have to consciously choose to look at the roses in my life and not the thorns. Yes, the thorns are still there. Yes, thorns still hurt, but the choice to focus on the blessings and the half-full glass rather than the half-empty one is my difficult choice for today. I feel like the widow of Zarapeth. (I Kings 17) She also ran on empty. Elijah came and asked her for a loaf of bread with the last of her reserves and, though she had not enough for herself and her son, she baked bread for Elijah as well. Day after day. She would give all she had and there would still always be enough. Each new day there would always be more; exactly what she needed to survive. Her trust was renewed each day by a God who always provided. Likewise in the morning when I rise the first thing I will do is thank the Lord for His lovingkindness; his mercies are new each day. His compassions never fail. Great is His faithfulness!
I am reminded that only Jesus can fill the longing and the empty places in my life and heart. Like the woman at the well, I long to be filled to overflowing so that I never feel empty and dry again. Like the woman at the well I have tried to fill my life all by myself by looking to people and possessions and busyness and time , especially since Jim died. Nothing has been enough to fill me up. And it isn’t supposed to. Only Jesus can soothe my aches and pains. Only God can refresh and meet my needs. Why? Because the empty places of our hearts were created to be filled by God alone. The deepest thirst of our souls can only be quenched by Him.
I just realized that Jesus emptied himself. I look at the cross and realize it is empty. It is finished. So is the tomb. It is finished. Though my family feels finished, it isn’t. It lives on in the memories and stories of a lifetime. My soul is never empty, but often it is cluttered with the earthly things that would rob me of remembering that Jesus inhabits the praises of his people and dwells in the temple of my soul. Life is not empty when Jesus fills it. Again I wait for God to fill me up. My life is more than half full. It overflows. It satisfies. I will yet praise Him!