I’m on day 11 of being apart from my wife. This ties our previous record of being apart which happened (I don’t know how many) years ago when I went to Honduras on a mission trip. I’ve learned some things in these 11 days. While our situation is unique in some ways, I think there may be some transferable nuggets I can pass along.
1. Facetime is amazing.
Facetime is Apple’s video chat app. Last month I bought an iPad for my wife, primarily for the purpose of her being able to “facetime” with her ailing sister in Missouri. I have a picture of my wife looking into her sister’s face onscreen. It captures the pricelessness of making that purchase. I’d do it again instantly, if only for the Facetime program. But an added benefit has been that I have been able to borrow an iPad and can Facetime with my wife while she’s away. It may sound silly, but seeing her face makes a huge difference. If we were left to phone calls only, I think I’d be in far worse shape at this point.
2. Keeping order helps…big time.
My kids are amazing. I don’t have perfect kids. Neither do you. But I’ve been blown away by their togetherness, their teamwork, their laughter, and their strength. Life without Mom isn’t easy at all for any of us, but they have collectively pulled together to make this season of life work. In order to facilitate order in what might otherwise be a chaotic household, I created a chart for them to follow; bullet points of what each of them need to do everyday. Its been very helpful for me in that I don’t have to repeat myself and its helpful for them to keep track of what needs to be done and when. Its neither rocket science nor complicated but is a helpful tool.
3. Roll with it.
One of the major causes of injury in car accidents is the “tightening up” that passengers do as they brace for impact. While this goes against our basic instincts, experts say that injuries would be fewer and less severe if there wasn’t so much clinching, straightening, and tightening of muscles. In a strange way, we’ve got to learn to flow with the punches that inevitably come with life on earth. I’m not saying we’ll come through without a scratch, but we’ll likely come through with less trauma if we learn to flex with the situation. In these 11 days, rigidity would not serve me well. Flexibility has been a key ingredient to success thus far.
I’ve told my kids on multiple occasions that we’re going to have to be really careful to rely on each other and stay close. Bickering has to be short-lived. Divisions and quarreling just can’t have a place in our family. There’s too much going on and there’s too much at stake. Now, I’m not naive to say that I’ve waved some magic “no fighting” wand, but being preemptive in this has really (so far) been effective. In a related story, I had to run to the grocery store for a couple things yesterday and passed a small display of “spa socks”; they’re knit, cozy, & colorful–the kind of thing by oldest daughter lives for. I bought a pair, took them home and handed them to her while thanking her for her help in keeping things rolling while Mom’s away. Did a pair of socks make everything better? Of course not, but I do think that a small token of appreciation (especially for the oldest child) goes a long way in keeping the gears greased. And since I know she reads my blog I’ll tell her again how proud I am of her and how much I love and appreciate who she is and who she’s becoming.
The truth is, we don’t have a date planned for my wife to return. And I won’t promise to have another post related to this situation in our lives. But let me wrap up by saying if you have not put your complete trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son let me plead with you to do so. He is the reason for the peace, hope, and even joy we overflow with even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Someone once said, “In the end it’ll all be okay. If its not all okay, don’t worry. It isn’t the end.”