Nate has been out of the country for the past 19 days and I have two more looooong days to endure apart from him. He takes three to four international trips a year and this constitutes nearly all of his travel time on an annual basis. I love what he gets to do on these trips and wouldn't trade his being able to go for anything. This recent journey has included Dubai, of the United Arab Emirates, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and lastly Hong Kong. But no worries, I'm living it up in Nashville, TN, so don't be sad for me. His trip itself deserves a blog post of its own, but I'm using this one as a platform for the light-hearted self-awareness I gained during these 3 weeks.
For you see, a girl has to keep moving forward when her better half is across the ocean and even out of telephone reach. And I began to observe that I do things a little differently when he's gone. So I started a list of what those variances are. I did so partly because it leaves room for me to laugh at myself. And partly because it helped me for some strange reason. There's a gray line between keeping a softened heart while he is overseas: too soft a heart out of my love for him means I'm a blubbering mess most of the time because I miss him. But too protected a heart out of the desire to avoid a daily pity party leans itself towards a propensity of unhealthy independence rather than interdependence/dependence with my man.
So recorded below are a few of the things I recognized as the Top Ten Indicators that Nate-the-great is gone:
1) I sleep on Nate's side of the bed when he's not here. I don't know why. I don't even like his side of the bed. But it helps me for some reason. Don't judge me.
2) I also let our 65 lb., 2 year old boxer-mix (Hudson) join me. And he can hog the bed and I don't care. He keeps me warm.
3) In the mornings, I turn my praise music on loud while I put on my mascara. When Nate is in town, he's able to sleep a little later than I am, so I don't bust the praise as loudly.
4) I become completely obsessive about making sure the doors are locked. It's actually ridiculous how bad of a scaredy-cat I can become.
5) My frequency of cooking is disorderly and atypical. First, I start off cooking all the things that I love maybe a little more than Nate does. I become a Julia Child wannabee. I purchase more groceries and make more meals the first week than I can even consume. And then, somewhere around week two, I ask myself, "Self, why on earth are you cooking up a storm when you could be relaxing tonight and rockin out a piece of toast with peanut butter and a banana?" And so thyself starts eating like a college student again.
6) I become an employee for Nate's company, Grateful Inconvenience, Inc. No matter how much he prepares, when your husband owns his company and he is out of the country for three weeks, you may find yourself becoming an unofficial employee. I take phone calls. I make sure his invoices go out. And as he told me, there may be three or four packages coming in from Australia that he would want me to bring inside. Yep. A few packages. Or try over 30 large boxes that I came home to one evening and had to haul inside by my lonesome. The CEO of Grateful Inconvenience will be receiving an invoice from me. Grin.
7) And since Nate is Nate, there's got to be some drama for God to bring along the way. Like the text I got from him while he was in Dubai, at 2 a.m. my time, letting me know that he had lost his wallet or that it had been stolen. So he needed my immediate help in canceling all of his cards. Sure enough baby love. We both prayed that the individual who picked it up would need the cash that was in it more than he did. It took a few hours for the knots in my stomach to unwind. Nate reached hope a little more quickly than I did. I knew it for sure when I got the following picture and text from him: "Baby love, don't worry about the money we lost. I'm just going to belly dance over here in Dubai and get it back." (Yes...that's my man's version of belly dancing. My man who I can never get on the dance floor).
8) I get flowers. And it's typically quite the scene because he is sending me flowers for my birthday as he's not here. And the sweet lady at the front desk calls me downstairs to come get them. And then they're so big and heavy that I can't lift them. And I love them. Every year. And I try to make them last for as long as he is gone. And I do. I have two cherry blossoms and a beautiful orchid left from this.
9) Speaking of # 1 and #2, I'm not the only one who doesn't sleep well the first 5 nights he's gone. Our dog Hudson looks out our front window every night waiting for Nate to come home. He cries until I finally convince him to come to bed. He'll sleep for a few hours, wake up and realize Nate isn't here, and then go back to the front window waiting and looking for him. It breaks my heart and my sleep pattern in such a bad way that I'm puffy-eyed for days.
10) I jealously guard my weekend time to be still before the LORD. Yes, I get lonely. Yes, I miss my man like crazy. Yes, I have scheduled play dates with my close girlfriends and have an absolute blast. But when my husband is gone, I tell Jesus every time that I look forward with great anticipation to what He has just for me during this time. It's my time with Him. And His time with this child of His. And I long for it, guard it, and love it.
And before I close, if you're still hanging in here, you may need a little reminder that our God is a God of miracles. Forty-eight hours after Nate's wallet was missing, he received the following email:
a taxi in Dubai on Friday, January 27. I caught the taxi from the Dubai
mall and saw it on the floor in the back and thought it best to NOT to
hand it over to the cab driver. I saw that you are from Tennessee (US)
and figured it would be best to get it to you myself. I did go through
the contents to find out your info and left a voice message on the
number off of your business card. I can assure you that all its contents
are accounted for... I will be in Dubai until about 2pm
today and then we leave. I was hoping to get it back to you before we
leave. My office number is XXX-XXX-XXXX . Hopefully you get this message soon so you at
least have that bit of peace of mind