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The Dale-y Word

Empty Nest ?

Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.” Marcus Aurelius

Having not directed for many years, my recent experience with the play, “The Normal Heart”, provided me with great satisfaction and more grist for the spiritual mill than I had anticipated. The months of preparation and rehearsals tapped into maternal feelings about my theatrical progeny, leading me to attend almost every performance during the three week run. This play allowed me to passionately operate on an intense, multi-dimensional level concurrent with being a full-time minister at the spiritual Center. It was my heaven.

Perhaps that is why I didn’t initially recognize my symptoms of grief that followed the play closing. I was certainly not unfamiliar that theatre is often like a microcosm of ‘real life’ with its literal cast of characters, deep emotions and lifespan. Weeks after the show closed, I suddenly burst into tears when turning on the radio hearing one of the songs I had chosen for the show. My tears of sadness and loss caught me by surprise. Clearly, I underestimated the deep connection that I had forged with my actors; nor had I foreseen how the play itself would transform my values and my behavior. I was having my own version of “empty nest” when my experience with the cast and crew was complete and they were on their own for the run of the play.

This process got me to thinking about how many times people who don’t have children may have a similar sense of ‘empty nest’ when a job or a major project is completed, a best friend moves away; or even when we shed our own baby feathers for a full set of new wings.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”   Kahlil Gibran

It is quite appropriate and spiritually healthy to allow oneself the privilege of grieving even the small losses.  Nature abhors a vacuum and humanly our inclination is to rush in with something to fill the gap. If a person or project takes flight and we find ourselves standing in the garden wondering what to plant next, it might be best to be still and listen.

As Bernie Siegel wrote: “God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations but commencements, creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.” And so it is.


I am willing to bless my sadness, as I gratefully graduate from each experience into a new Spirit-filled creation of soulful expansion.

Rev. Duchess Dale

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