Early in our marriage, we moved to Houston so my husband could seek his fame and fortune at a big city police department. He had been an officer two years in our home town and our little life was rocking right along. I was 22 years old and had never been away from home. Suddenly, I found myself in a U-Haul moving 600 miles to the fourth largest city in the nation. I knew exactly 3 people when I got there. It was summer and I didn’t have a job yet. We only had one car and clearly my guy had to go to work. I pondered this problem and concluded I had three choices:
- Get up at 4:00 AM, drive 45 minutes downtown, drive 45 minutes back home. Leave at 2:00 PM, drive 45 minutes back to get him and then 45 minutes back home. This didn’t seem like a good choice to someone who doesn’t like mornings or driving. (If traffic was bad, add an hour to these driving times.)
- Hoof it anywhere I wanted to go. I didn’t live near anything within walking distance except a grocery store. I tried walking there one day when I forgot Houston was one block from the surface of the sun and just down the street from hell. I’m pretty sure I looked like one of those cartoon characters dragging my carcass through the sand toward the water only to find the pond dry. Walking anywhere in Houston in the summer was clearly not a choice after all.
- Stay home alone and feel sorry for myself. Best I could tell, this was my only choice so I took it.
I slept until noon, got up and pondered how I got myself into this mess, wondered if whoever said marriage should last until “death do us part” had ever been married to a cop who moved to Houston, took an afternoon nap, and fixed supper. By the time I had accomplished all these important tasks, my guy was home. We ate dinner and … get ready for it … he went straight to bed. I was by myself all day and now all evening, too. I had slept approximately 11.5 out of the 12 hours he was gone, so I sure wasn’t ready to go to bed. I mean seriously….could he not see I was depressed??!! Did he not realize I needed some companionship? Is he really this selfish? This situation called for drastic measures.
I formulated a plan to make sure he knew I was miserable. Every night, I’d wait until I knew he was almost asleep. Then, I’d move the rocking chair right outside the bedroom door. And I began to wail. I don’t mean cry. I mean waaaaaiil. The voice in Ramah, mourning and great weeping. Rachel weeping for her children had nothing on me. I sobbed, caterwauled, blubbered and squalled. All to no avail. He slept. To this day, I don’t know if he didn’t hear me or if he just ignored me. (His hearing wasn’t all that bad, so I’m going to assume it was the latter.)
My plan wasn’t working, so I got on with life. Summer passed. My sweet mother and daddy brought one of their cars to me. I got a job. I met some neighbors. I wasn’t any happier, but I was surviving.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” I believed that in my head, but my heart was having a little trouble thinking this deal in Houston was working together for my good.
What I couldn’t see then became crystal clear to me years later. I needed to experience this time away from my family and my hometown so I could learn about myself. I learned I could survive in a place I hated. I learned I could be alone even though I didn’t like it. I learned I could stand the heat—literally and figuratively. I learned how to depend solely on my guy and yet solely on myself at the same time.
There were going to be lots of times I would be by myself when I didn’t want to be. There would be times I seriously didn’t think I could survive…and yet I did. There would be times the heat was on… in his job, in our marriage, in my life… and I stood it. I learned to survive and yes, even thrive in police life.
You can too.