After five months, living in two separate countries is tiring. The wife part of me wanders around aimlessly, restlessly, playing Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” on repeat, wondering where on earth to lay her head. I have questions, big questions I want to sort through with my “ride-or-die” man, but due to constraints on schedules and time, days often pass before we have an actual conversation, or he gets a chance to see the kids on FaceTime. It works, and we are grateful for the extra connections technology allows us, but my ribcage is tied to his and feels a bit vacuous being so physically far away.
I miss my equal. I don’t have to earn a place in his heart-it’s already mine. I miss relaxing into this embrace.
I remember one of our last days on Saba, walking into his apartment with as much casual as I could muster. The kids giggled as they bounded up the stairs, checking out Daddy’s new place and dropping off the last load of necessities. I didn’t want to cry in front of the kids and maybe scare them with this impending change. He would be sharing a wall with his best friend, and I took comfort knowing that he would not be taking all of his meals alone. The place was tidy, organized, comfortable, a perfect “bachelor pad.” I tried to separate myself from the idea that this was his new home, and I would not be warming the hearth.
Any time we move to a new place, we do this liturgy called the Blessing of the Home, to offer thanks as well as consecrate the space to whatever goodness God wants to bring about in it and through it. I love to pray, and figured this would be so easy to do for my husband’s new spot. I didn’t expect to struggle with the text.
Two brothers in the Lord came over to pray with us and give hugs. I ran my finger along the table for one, noticing where the floral placemats that added beauty to our previous kitchen, wouldn’t be. My talismans of hope would not be decorating the refrigerator or the wall above the stove. I choked down tears as this reality began to settle in: My husband would carry about his daily tasks without me.
I was fine until we got to the blessing for the porch. That the Lord would watch over his coming and going, and I broke knowing I would not be watching over his coming and going. This really ordinary task of watching suddenly became a wildly important component to our relationship, and it was bewildering to realize I would not be sending him out into his day with a kiss, a hug, and “I love you” and “I believe in you.” I would not be welcoming him home with the smells of a home cooked meal, with the softness of my embrace, with the warmth of my laughter, and the sloppy kisses from our kids.
The aspects of our day that I never noticed before, now became the most sacred parts.
Since marrying, I have believed it is my place to be by my husband’s side, wherever that is. We are a team. I still desire to be, but sometimes life doesn’t work out that way. Our embrace is now entirely emotional. But, I am realizing I can be from his side, without being by his side. We can embody the truth of our union whether we are sleeping next to each other or on opposite ends of the globe. We are equal, partnered, co-dreamers, and co-laborers, bearing the load of our life together, even though our feet walk different ground.
We pray for each other and with each other each night. We send pictures and email funny videos. We love watching “The Good Place” and laughing about it on FaceTime the next day. We are reading through a book together, one chapter a week from “Inspired” by: Rachel Held Evans. I highly recommend this book for sparking interesting literary, social, political, theological, and spiritual discussions, whether you agree or disagree. We just try to stay on the same page as much as possible, and know God will fill in the blanks because he cares that much about us. He is a MASTER at wrangling flourishing from tired ground.
What do you do to stay connected to a loved one from afar?
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Your words brought tears to my eyes and tugged at my heart…..Lifting your family up to the Lord and praying Wes’s schooling goes very fast.How many more years does he have on Saba? Praying your love for one another grows stronger thru all of this. ❤️❤️
Hi Joyce, thank you for reading and commenting! I draw strength from your story and would love to hear more about your adventures with moving and kids, etc. Wesley will finish up his time on Saba in December, pending his success in passing the Exit Exam, which we pray fervently he will pass with flying colors the first time. Then he will move back here and prepare for the USMLE Step 1. We are doing well and making it work. God has been so kind and near, healing us individually and together in some really deep ways.