Surviving Separation: Believing in an End

This is part eleven in a series about surviving separation from your spouse. Read all posts in this series.

Gregg and Hallee - 1 week after his return from Afghanistan in 2003
Gregg and Hallee - 1 week after his return from Afghanistan in 2003

Gregg and I have been married for nine years. We didn’t live together until our first anniversary. Three months after we married, he deployed to Afghanistan. A couple of years later, he changed his military specialty and went to school 400 miles away for eight months. A couple years later, he went to another school, even further away, for six months. On top of these extended absences, his civilian job had him away from home for months at a time, when he would come home on Friday night and leave again on Sunday.  He is currently in Afghanistan again, this time as a civilian contractor, and has been working there for 28 months. We have spent more time apart than together, so we have learned how to have an abiding, intimate relationship even though we’re, at times and currently, thousands of miles away from each other. This series will provide you with little tips and hints we’ve picked up along the way.

Believing in an End

I was pregnant with Johnathan when Gregg got a long-term contract in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was there for several weeks, home on the weekends but gone Monday through Friday.  The company that contracted him sent him to Nashville next.  Johnathan was probably two months old when he went to Nashville, and he was there for about three months.  He finished that job in October and drove from Nashville to Ft. Gordon, Georgia and was there for six months for a school.  He came home  some weekends, we went to visit him some weekends, but the drive was about 10 hours.

On the day of his graduation, he got the call hiring him for the job in Afghanistan.  This was February 2009.  He left in March.

Since he’s been there, the United States economy began its decline.  Jobs in Gregg’s market have been in serious decline and the 8000 mile separation seemed interminable.  A contract end date would approach, no jobs would pop up, so Gregg would be forced to sign another contract and stay a few more months, and it would cycle all over again.

Johnathan turned three in May.  As I post this, it’s August 12, 2011, and we finally see an end.

When Gregg was home on vacation in July, he was contacted about a local job for which he’d applied online.  However, because he was home and neither one of us were in our normal operating mode, he hadn’t checked his job-hunt email for over a week.  When he checked his email, the email from the company asking for a phone interview was over a week late, and the days had passed for the interview options.  He simply wrote them back and said he’d be available Thursday and Friday that week.

He received a response from the recruiter rescheduling the interview for the following Tuesday.  We were going to be at Glen Eden Youth Camp that week, so Gregg replied that he wouldn’t be available until the following week.  They agreed and his phone interview was a Monday morning.

He and I both didn’t hold out a lot of hopes.  The phone interview was three weeks  after the initial contact.  We thought that alone would have had him out of the running.

But what happened instead was that God made sure things worked out in way that we could only look at it and say, “God did this.  God brought Gregg home.”

His phone interview Monday morning went smashingly well.  The recruiter was uberly impressed with him.  He told her that he was leaving the country on Friday, and she said she would see about expediting an in-person interview to accommodate his travel plans.  About thirty minutes after they got off the phone, she called back and said that his in-person interview was scheduled for the next day at noon.

He went to the interview and was home about two in the afternoon.  He said that it was a very good interview, and that they didn’t want him for the analyst position for which he’d applied, but instead wanted him in their corporate offices as a manager – a much higher pay scale than the original job.  They told him that basically the job was his to lose.  He just had to get through a technical interview.  Gregg wasn’t worried about that.

They expedited the technical interview and it was scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10AM.  It was a conference call with several people that lasted about an ninety minutes.  At 5PM, there was a follow-up phone interview and Gregg discovered in the course of the interview that he was speaking to the President of the corporation.  As their call ended, Gregg was told that a decision would be made that evening.

About twenty minutes later, he got a phone call with an offer.  This was less than 60 hours after the original screening interview with the recruiter.

He  got on a plane Friday to go back to Afghanistan.  About a week later, he signed the offer letter and put in his notice and, as this post gets published, he is traveling and en route home.  He will arrive here Monday and will start his new job the following Monday.

For the first time in our nine-year marriage, he will be working a “normal” 9-5 job about twenty minutes from home.

We know God is bringing him home.  His kids need him.  I need him.  He needs us.  His absence has been too too long.  We are so thankful for the job he’s had when so many are losing jobs and we aren’t going to begrudge it.  But we’re so very thankful to God for this new job and this opportunity to live a “normal”, day-to-day life together.

I am happy to be ending this series, and I pray that if you are reading it to help foster your own separation, that your end will come soon as well.



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