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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

[title link here]

I look down at the speedometer and smile. "In the future of Alas, Babylon, cars are so fast they have to stretch out the signs a quarter mile so people can read them."

My wife looks at me quizzically.

"There's this part where the character is really in a hurry and floors it. ...getting up to 75 miles per hour. I just matched that."

A standard sized--and easily legible--sign whips past her window. I can't see Brittany's reaction in the dark, but I hope she's amused.

"You just can't predict the future, can you."

It's 4:07 this morning. I'm taking Brittany and the girls to the airport. The time has come for the girls to go home. And now, after over six months of booster seats and bibs, after a goodbye party with the family last night, we're left with:


Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

People have asked me how I feel about it. I wish I could say, but I can't, for two reasons:

  1. I don't know what I'm feeling, and I'm guessing it's going to take a long while to decompress and let my mind muddy through the murky waters.
  2. I don't feel good about it at all. But not because of some, "Oh, I miss them so," kind of sentiment. Something much less happy. And that, my friends, is going to take a long time for me to formulate a response that isn't completely negative.

How terrible is that?

Let me tell you: It feels pretty terrible. Much like the part in the song above: "[We] sang about tomorrow / And tomorrow never came."

But tomorrow did come this morning. It's just a present we never expected when we looked to the future a couple years ago. "Don't ask me what [this] sacrifice was for. / Empty chairs and empty tables..."

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

16 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Sitting in the silence with you... just thinking.

Jill in Kentucky said...

My heart grieves for you all. I cannot imagine how quiet it must be at your house. I am so sorry, but am glad could bless the girls for the time you did.

The Reader said...

Grieving with you here, as well. I cannot imagine.....praying for all of you.

mary grace said...

As someone who has r/u'ed (reunited) kids with birth families quite a few times now, I'm going to throw a wild guess out there and say that you're less than certain about the future you're sending these girls into. I've done that. And it just plain old sucks, excuse my language.

No matter how well you did or did not bond with the kiddos, no matter how the overall situation played out ... you want those children to go to the best.

But we don't always get that kind of assurance. And that's completely counter to what we try to offer them as they go through their days as part of our family, isn't it?

I'm not saying anything that you don't know, and I'm not whipping out a Christianism to make us all feel better, but here goes: God has seen all of this. He is in control. And although the story might not play out the way we hope, He is still the one writing the script.

If I'm off my rocker on this one, take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. But if I'm getting anywhere near close, please ... take care of yourself. Love on your wife. Give each other the time to grieve the roller coaster ride that you've been strapped in to long before those girls even darkened your door. You've got a lot going on the category labeled children, and it can take it's toll. Cling to each other and Christ, and you'll see the other end of the tunnel. ((hugs))

Luke said...

Thank you all! Yesterday was a tough day.

Mary Grace, Brittany came back and said that she was very pleased with the home environment. She had a good time there, chatting with the family and seeing how things had changed from when she was there the first time. She was very encouraged by the visit. But, yes: The roller coaster continues...

~Luke

se7en said...

You guys sound like you are in a very difficult place and it will take a long time for you to feel like yourselves again. Hang in there there are so many people praying for you both.

JJ Ross said...

Luke, that's one of our favorite musicals ever. Y'all need to remember how much more loving you were as surrogate parents for the girls, that the Thenardiers were even to their own children, much less their ward. Be Jean Val Jean!

VALJEAN(interjecting, to himself)
She was never mine to keep.
She is youthful, she is free.
Love is the garden of the young
Let it be... let it be...
A heart full of love
This I give you on this day.

Luke said...

Thanks, Se7en!

JJ, it's one of my favorites too. Actually, it is my favorite <smile>. Such a powerful story, strong characters, good times.

~Luke

Shantiwilliams said...

I'm sorry...but I haven't been keeping up with your blog...what girls are you speaking of? Were you doing foster care?

Luke said...

Shanti, you can read the beginning of the story here: http://www.sonlightblog.com/2009/10/when-god-keeps-door-closed.html. It was a pseudo-foster care situation. My wife said, when she brought the girls back to the bio family, that things were much better there and she was very encouraged. Which is great news.

~Luke

Kim & Dave said...

Luke-I will continue to pray. So glad the girls' home situation seems better now.

Luke said...

Thanks so much, Kim!

~Luke

Craig, Taryn and our blessings said...

just read this post Luke after seeing your "empty nester" signature. Wow - so hard saying goodbye. Horrible reminder of the fallen state of our world. Praying the One who rescues us all will allow you guys a blessed journey through the grieving... Safrican prayers headed His way for you :)

Luke said...

Thanks, Taryn!

~Luke

Jeanne said...

Likewise, I just read this after noting your signature. My dh and I said goodbye to an 8yo boy almost sixteen years ago, after having him in our home for a year. We weren't thrilled with where he was going, but we hadn't exactly bonded with him either. In many respects it was a relief to see him go. But that feeling was a huge source of guilt and the whole experience made me doubt my ability to be a parent to anyone. However, when our 'forever' children came along, all those doubts melted away. I found I really could love a child after all. And what do you know, we still keep in touch with the not-so-little "boy," who actually has some happy memories of his time with us. And he taught us a lot that made us better parents.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Parenting is a difficult job, and when the children are not yours, there is no long-term relationship to help overcome the negative feelings. Frustration with problems you did not create and resentment for the affect they have on your life can be common reactions.

Blessings on you all.

Luke said...

Thank you so much, Jeanne. That was very helpful encouragement.

~Luke


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