For Linda on the cusp of our empty nest

Here we are with our children

Almost completely gone

And we wonder:

Is this house a home

And who are we without them?

For me it’s easier, to be sure,

My dear wife and friend,

Because you are a nurturer of all things:

Flowers, wild birds, mongrel dogs,

And not only children.

On the other hand, I am a mere man.

Still, I am not so different from you:

Longing for a home

We truly made one together

And it has been good.

When I was younger but all grown up

Like our own children are now,

I was too old for mother and father

But yearned for a sanctuary in the midst

Of all the craziness and toil.

Before you, it was only me,

And then it was us,

But it felt just like home

With only you and me and God,

That unbreakable cord of three strands.

Later, we added to ourselves

Children who were precious and delightful.

Nonetheless, they were our own tiny crosses of sorts

Nailing our self-interest down and making it good as dead.

But resurrection and joy came in abundance:

As we gave ourselves to them

They returned more than I ever expected.

And now they too are about

To spread their tendrils of love

And create homes of their very own.

That leaves us with you and me

Still bound together in love

Just as when we started.

So I remind you that we are still at home

With only one another in the house.

Perhaps what you feel

With our children going away

Is just a reminder that we

Are essentially pilgrims still on the move,

Always questing and yearning

But nurtured by foretastes of unsurpassing

Grace and peace and, above all else,

Love beyond measure

And certainly beyond comprehension.

It is no wonder that we are a bit restless

On this side of death’s golden threshold.

One day we most likely will not cross together.

Rather, one will go ahead of the other,

And whoever gets there first

Eventually will greet the other and say,

“Welcome home.”

For the very first time

We will mean it absolutely and completely and forever.