I read an interesting devotion the other day regarding void fillers. Void fillers are when we fill the emptiness in our life with “things”. There are many different ways we can feel emptiness or a void in our life. As a parent and a wife or husband of soldiers we experience that emptiness in our lives when they are not home and far away leaving a huge void in our lives that we end up filling with too many “things”. That emptiness also comes from the first time our children leave home for college or when the need of good jobs take them too far from home. The most painful is the emptiness and hopelessness that comes from when our loved ones are called to their heavenly home.
As parents we experience that empty nest, when our children leave home. It is amazing how large our home has become and just how loud silence can get. The holiday tables look so empty and our hearts are aching to fill our homes with all of our children once again.
As a military spouse we say goodbye to our better half as they go off to work knowing that they will not be home at 5 pm. Our hearts are lonely for the one we love. Our hearts and homes are empty.
There are many ways to fill in that void – most are good and productive. For myself, when my husband was away for military duty I earned the nickname “the white tornado”, whenever he would return not only would the house be clean but also rearranged along with closets and storage spaces cleaned out. I would be on a cleaning frenzy and like a tornado swoop down cleaning and throwing away everything in my path!
Some void fillers are not productive and only waste time and energy. When our son deployed for the second time I was introduced to the wonderful world of the internet, computer games and Facebook. I would spend hours surfing the web on genealogy, the history of whatever caught my fancy. You named it I researched it. Before the internet and Facebook during my husband’s service I escaped the loneliness like other wives with the tv that kept us company between soap operas during the day and the evening shows from Dallas to Falcon Crest. The noise of the tv made our nights less lonely. Through the years I have found more productive ways to fill the void that was left by my husband Tom and our son Tom’s separations through the military with volunteering, crafts, reading and taking classes on post and learning new things which are not only more productive but also very fulfilling.
Now as a mature (not old!) mother and wife I have learned to balance the good and bad void fillers of my life. I don’t clean as much and limit my computer time ~ although I will admit I am not that successful at limiting my computer time! I have found so many opportunities to fill my days. I have also found the center that keeps everything in balance is Jesus Christ. Once I put Him at the center of my life the void that is left from having a deployed son or the loneliness of my parents and brother who are no longer with me here on earth, doesn’t seem so empty. My home may be empty at times, but my heart is full all the time with the memories of those I love who are gone and with the many blessings that God has given me today; family, friends, and countless opportunities to grow spiritually and independently.
What are your void fillers? Are they good or bad? What can you do to balance them out?