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A Prayer for Empty Nesters

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One day I watched as a mother bird gave her timid youngster a gentle, but firm, nudge which sent the small robin sailing off the edge of the nest. The bird seemed certain to sail right into the ground, but at the last moment the young bird began using its small, inexperienced wings which lifted it to the safety of a nearby tree.

That same day, I listened to a lonely couple as they talked about the emptiness in their lives since their only child had moved to a distant city. I thought about the difference in birds and people. Birds do not have the same sense of continuing family togetherness as do humans.

It is a mother bird’s innate responsibility to teach her youngsters to fly as quickly as possible, to abandon the security of the nest for the great adventure of life which awaits them in the big, bold, frightening world outside the protection of the tree-home.

With humans, the opposite is often true
. While parents are supposed to train children to cope with the responsibilities of adulthood, they often find it very difficult to turn them loose, much less to nudge them into the outside world. There is a human tendency to hold on, to shield their children from the harsh realities of life for as long as possible. A God Tap

I can’t even begin to imagine the feelings of that mother bird as she nudged her growing youngster away from the nest. I suppose she was simply accepting the responsibilities given to her by the Creator, and following the direction she had been given.

I also believe that somewhere in that small “bird brain” of hers, there was a slight reluctance in the nudge she gave to her “baby”. That the maternal instinct was present and active as she watched those small wings move boldly into the distant unknown

Here is a lovely prayer for parents to pray —

God bless lonely mothers – and fathers – everywhere. And God bless you, mother birds, for the beauty you create, and the songs you make, the sacrifices you endure, and the lessons you give. Let us hope that we have all trained our young ones well. It is a rough world out there.

And God bless you, children, for the joys you give, the patience you teach, and the dreams you instill in us. Forgive us our tears and indulge us in our memories. The years might have been hard ones, and we know we have made a lot of mistakes, but just remember that we are simply – parents.

A prayer to pray this Lent.

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