For the almost five years Daniel and I have been together, we have spent plenty of time apart. I learned very quickly there is no offseason for a college baseball player. Each June brought the end of college baseball and another goodbye as he headed to summer ball and I went home to Texas. Combined with my late summer report date and fall soccer seasons, one of us was always on the road or packing for the next trip.
The first summer was hard, but I had no idea how that awful feeling would get exponentially worse as our relationship grew. Each summer I would think if I could just go with him I would. That I would do anything to be able to pack up and just be there.
By our senior year, I couldn’t wait for him to return from Massachusetts. The day we reunited, I told my heart that was it. In my mind, I would do anything to make sure I never felt that pain again. (Before I get too far, let me just say how much respect I have for military families — I have no idea how you do it and I am definitely not trying to compare my situation with what you do.)
When he got drafted, my heart sunk. Before you get to the “you’re selfish” thing, let me stop you –I know. As I previously mentioned, it was a very exciting time, but I knew what it meant for our relationship and our lives together. Luckily, we scheduled the wedding for the month following the minor league season to make sure we wouldn’t have to make major changes if he got drafted.
Once he accepted the offer to play, everything went a million miles an hour. His flight was scheduled for three days later and it was mid-week, which meant I was still working in downtown Atlanta during the day. He was in LaGrange at his parents house, so I made the 90-minute trek each night after work and each morning just so we could spend time together before he left. I am not sure if I really slept or ate those four days.
The morning he left, we decided I would not go to the airport, as our track record didn’t give us a good chance of him getting on the plane without a dramatic movie-like scene. I said goodbye to him that morning in his parents driveway. It was a long goodbye, with tears streaming down both of our faces. It literally felt like physical pain. My heart had been ripped out of my chest.
After he left, I made myself sick from lack of sleep, food and emotional stability. Everyone I talked to said I was crazy for making those drives and committing to extremely unconventional travel times to extend our trips together, even for just a few hours. But it never felt abnormal to me. It never felt like anything out of the ordinary. I honestly saw no other way.
When we decided I would go with him this year after diligent prayer, I was scared. Scared of the nature of the sacrifice I was about to make. I was always rooted in my plans of a successful career and an adventure climbing up the corporate ladder. Probably because as I look back, I was never taught any other way. That’s why you go to college, right? As your resume grows, so does your salary, and thus, your quality of life.
When I graduated college, I realized that all the things I had stressed about for four years were so minor — so unimportant in the grand scheme. When I was out on my own I told myself I would try not to stress as long as I had a job that paid my bills and a safe place to live with something to eat. I completely redefined the way I approached my life.
And here I was, quitting two jobs and leaving a city I had come to love, not knowing where we would live in a month and how we would pay bills without draining into our savings. I am going to be completely honest — I felt it. The pain didn’t go anywhere, it just felt different. My foundation was shaking.
D could see what I was going through and while I didn’t want to show my feelings, it is almost impossible when you’re married and this person is not only your husband, but your best friend. It was a challenging month for us to say the least. I continually prayed that God would give me the ability to trust no matter what — to have joy that was greater than circumstance.
As I write this, I am not far removed from these emotions. It has been a month now and I still take time to look in the rearview mirror, while staring down an uncertain road ahead. I recognize the sacrifices that I chose to make. But if something is really that important to you, what deems a sacrifice too large?
I am not trying to say there won’t be pain involved. Sometimes, the sacrifices you make are things in your life that you probably made sacrifices to get in the first place, like your career. I can see that very clearly now. The “sacrifices” I made were necessary steps towards diligence in pursuing God’s calling for our lives.
As I continue to wade through what exactly that means for me, I don’t have all the answers. I still have questions every day. But there are no words to explain the emotion in my husband’s eyes every time he looks at me. He prays for me and for God’s providence in our lives and in our marriage. He constantly thanks me for being here, but the look in his eyes says more than any word that could ever come out of his mouth.