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Your nest is not empty

A Christian Science perspective.

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Every day for 28 years I'd had a child at home to care for. From the first infant to the last teenager, my three children had filled my life with what I'd always felt to be my most important work – striving to mother them with pure, constant love and shepherding guidance.

Then my youngest child left for boarding school, the same day my husband left for a business trip, and I was alone. Our household went from lively to lonely in no time flat.

At first I wrestled with pretty severe emotions. But as I confronted them in prayer with the truths I've learned through Christian Science, a wonderful change took place in my thinking and in my life.

Some of the assumptions that underlie empty-nest syndrome are that without the physical presence of those dearest to us, a measure of good is absent, and that the good we once had – whether a child's laughter, cheer, and humor in the home, or a satisfying role to play – is irretrievably gone. But I'm learning that if we can see these experiences as actually having their source in God, the Giver of all good, then it follows that neither we nor our children can lose this joy-filled good. The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, assure us over and over that good is ever present – both in the sense of its being and being not just . It is a function of God's ever-presence, which no circumstances can ever diminish.

What about the good a child in the home brings? Well, if you think about it, what is it that you love about that child's presence? While it's fun to have a child near, what makes him or her precious is the qualities he or she expresses: the liveliness, wit, and spontaneity, for example. Acknowledging that these qualities are spiritual and therefore always present, and holding to that fact in prayer, enables us to feel those qualities tangibly, as if our son or daughter were right there with us.

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