Absence, Prayer Make Their Hearts Grow Fonder
When the economy forced them to live apart, they grew closer than ever.
ANGIE: “Goodnight,” I said to my new husband, Don. But there was no goodnight kiss. I could hardly remember when our last kiss had been. “Love you...oh, and tell Mom I said hi,” I added before we hung up.
I plugged my phone into the charger on my nightstand and lay down. But it was no use. Sleep wouldn’t come. Just worry and loneliness.
The catfish processing plant where Don had been a manager here in Alabama had sold and the only companies hiring in his field were in the Dallas, Texas, area. I had a full-time job and we have five kids between us, four in college. There was no way we could all uproot from Tuscaloosa.
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Besides, my youngest was only 12—I couldn’t move him out of state, away from his dad, my ex-husband. Fortunately, my mom lived in Denton, Texas, and offered to let Don move in with her while he was job hunting. A good solution to a bad problem.
Yet with each passing day the distance between us felt greater. And it wasn’t just the miles. Don and I had been high school sweethearts. We’d reconnected five years ago after we’d both gone through devastating divorces.
We felt so blessed to have a second chance at love. It felt like a gift from God. But now I wondered, Lord, why did you bring us together again only to keep us apart?
DON: I knew losing my job wasn’t my fault. The economy was in bad shape and the plant I worked for just couldn’t make it. Still, I felt like a failure. I’d always prided myself on being a hard worker, a good provider for my family.
Now I’d let them down. Especially Angie. I was so thankful God brought her back into my life. I’d wanted to take care of her completely, make it so she never had to worry again, yet all I’d done was bring more stress into her life.
She was supporting our family—that was supposed to be my role.
Angie’s mom was very generous. “Don’t worry about staying here,” she said. “I’m glad to help.” But I felt like a burden using her utilities and groceries.
I found a church I liked but what I really needed to find was work. Fast. Problem was, every interview I went on, there were scores of guys just like me: middleaged men with business backgrounds and proven track records. Hundreds of us vying for the same few positions.
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It was discouraging. Demoralizing. But I couldn’t tell Angie. No way. I couldn’t drag her down like that. So every night when we talked on the phone, I put on a good front. “How’d it go today?” she’d ask.
“I think the interview went well.”
“That’s great! When will you know if you got the job?”
“I’m not sure. But don’t worry. If this doesn’t work out, another will.” Maybe if I kept saying it, I’d believe it too.
ANGIE: Weeks passed, then months. Nothing opened up for Don. The worst part was, I felt like I was carrying the burden of all our worries. When Don and I talked, he sounded so upbeat, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
It wasn’t just that we weren’t living in the same house—sometimes it seemed like we weren’t in the same marriage.
“Got a little glitch, Ang,” Don told me one night. “Your mom’s neighborhood covenant won’t allow her to have company much longer. She can’t have overnight guests for more than thirteen weeks, and we’re running out of time. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure something will work out by then.”
“Okay, hon,” I said, trying not to sound anxious. Deep down, though, I was terrified. Why would everything suddenly work out? It hadn’t so far. How could Don seem relaxed at a time like this? We hung up the phone.