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So there we were, standing at the end of my parents driveway in the cool darkness of pre-dawn each trying not to be the one to initiate goodbye. I had packed the last box, nestled the snack cooler in an acessable spot, and turned my face away to hide the emotions that threatened to spill out. It felt surreal. To date, there have been few harder moments in my life than watching Lucas get into the car and drive away that morning. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible driving away must have felt. It sounds terribly dramatic to tell you this now, but I really did simply sit down at the end of the driveway for about half an hour after the car vanished from sight. Only when the sun actually made an appearance did my legs carry me back into the house.

The remainder of that first day would be an accurate foreshadowing of the month ahead: survival by means of distraction. Distraction came in many forms, from shopping to laundry, television to walking the dog, and everything in between that kept my mind occupied or my body moving. Without it, I was lost. In the moments of silence and inactivity, I felt paralyzed in mind and body. Lies circled my mind like starving vultures: we deserved this- we weren’t following God’s will- I had been to zealous for England and must now suffer the consequences- (worst of all) we’ll never see each other again. I, just barely, kept them at bay by acknowledging their presence. And so, because the state of shock was too great to handle, I set to treading water the only way I knew how: industrious survival. I will probably never again in my life accomplish more in a month than I did that October. 

Most importantly, I set to finding a job.  I must have put out a hundred applications in the city by the end of the first week. Exhausted at the end of a long day of pounding the pavement (so to speak), I wandered into the local Starbucks and found myself  in the hands of people whom I would come to love. After a nerve-wracking interview, in which I may or may not have cried upon explaining my then current situation, I was offered  the incredable gift of a job. A job that would be so much more than a paycheck.  A job that would lead me into the lives of dear friends. A job that would be a saving grace in the coming year. It was a struggle for the first few weeks, what with the insane learning curve, but before Halloween I felt confident. I had purpose in making lattes, learning names, and arriving each day.

 Near the end of the month, Lucas came to visit. It was a peaceful and enjoyable visit made possible by his family. We just existed together for a few days, slowly dissapating the irrational fears that we would forever remain apart. In particular I was reminded of the fact that God had been merciful, patient, and faithful to us and  He would never fail. Especially not now, when we needed Him the most.  The small change in perspective would sustain my hope for the future and cradle my fragile optimism for the days ahead.

October was a month to be survived- and survived it was (on a wing and a prayer, most days).


Bonnie Belle- spring 2009

I was in the middle of writing my next post in the Set Apart series when mum sent me a message on the computer. My darling Bonnie Belle had passed away. I had just finished typing a whole paragraph on how much of a blessing this sweet creature had been to me in the 15 months Lucas and I were seperated- the sentiment remains. She was quick to love, eager to please, and had a gentle spirit about her. She accompanied me with enthusiasm on countless adventures- even when she grew old and tired easily. She was the only dog I have ever loved- maybe the only one I ever will seeing as I am more partial to cats. So, after 13 years of service and friendship to our family, we are saying goodbye to a loved on today. I know for me, it will be weird going home and not seeing her smiling face and tiny stub of a tail wiggling her whole backside in excitment.

Bonnie Belle, you will be greatly missed. We are better off for having shared life with you while we could.


Here’s the truth: we made the decision together.

In the months that followed, I would occasionally fall into over-dramatic and terrified moods where I would tell you that Lucas left me.  And, though he did physically get into our car and drive away that morning, I had packed half of the boxes and closed the door behind him. He had just as much left me as I had not gone with him. Though the final decision was mutual, it was forced upon us and made with great relucatance. We wanted to be together, but this was the beginning of a time in which God set us apart from each other.

And so, 2 years ago, on October 2nd, 2008, having been married only fifteen months, we began an unwanted fifteen month seperation that would likely change us forever. Today, I am on the other side and ready to spend some time story-telling beginning with the events of the month before that day when it really began.

September: Changed Plans

As summer began to wayne and autumn settled into the air in Ontario, I began to pack up my office. Looking around at the brightly coloured boxes, the days crossed off the calender, and the smiling faces in photographs, I reminded myself why we’d come: to prepare to leave. Just four months earlier, Lucas and I had graduated college and traveled east to prepare to go further east to England. We had settled into my parent’s basement and I had teken a job as a Children’s Ministry Director at my home church. And, when autumn began to settle in, we had planned to pack our suitcases, sell our car and fly to England where Lucas had been offered a spot in a prestigious theatre training program. I was elated- perhaps even moreso than Lucas- dispite knowing that we were going to be half a world away from everyone we knew, living on little or no income, and boasting a large tuition bill. There was a real possibility that we might starve, but we were following God through a miraculously opened door.

By mid-September, we were still waiting on the correct visa’s to come through and grant us passage to England. When the envelope came, it offered only a letter of apology. The visas had simply not come through in time- an appeal would be held in October, a month too late. With ten days left until we had planned to move, we didn’t know where we were supposed to go. Though I so desired to move to England and go off on our adventurre of a lifetime, I felt a gentle pressing in my spirit that told me otherwise. Finally, the decision was made: we would return to Portland. Lucas wanted to work, and I needed a break. We put the dream of theatre school on hold, packed up the car and left on a very different adventure than we were expecting.

Looking back, I could tell you that we should have known better, but that wouldn’t be true. I could tell you that my lack of sleep the night before could have served as a warning, but it probably wasn’t. The early morning hours at the Detroit boarder crossing could not have been predicted- at least not by me. The first boarder guard on the US side was apologetic as she sent us for further questioning. The second gaurd appeard inexperienced and called in a third. Those two men asked me too many questions for my comfort then left us to sit and fret. After a long silence, the second gaurd called to me with a terribly sad look on his face and led me down a long corridor to a cement cell. Scared and alone, the took my purse and my glasses, patted me down, photographed and fingerprinted me. A perminant blemish on my clean record of immigration. I was to be denied entry on the grounds that they couldn’t prove I would ever leave.

We were escorted back to Canada as my mind reeled and tears threatened my tired eyes. I could barely breathe. Portland seemed like the right choice- now it was back to Canada, or myabe England? At the Canadian border, we were informed that Lucas’ student visa (allowing him to have resided in Canada for the last 9 months) was voided by him trying to return to the US. The two female Canadian gaurds were more sympathetic then the others as tears flowed and panic rose in my chest. They would allow Lucas to return temporarily. Allow him to bring me home.

We returned to my parents home defeated and confused. Had we choosen the wrong path? Had we misunderstood? What now? Lucas was allowed to stay until January, but neither of us had a job and neither of us were allowed in the other’s homeland. We made the difficult decision for Lucas to go back to Portland while the immigration papers processed. Our last day together was spent on practicality- preparing for the days ahead we would have both rather avoided.  An entire afternoon was spent dividing up our belongings like a couple does when preparing for a divorce. It was eerie and terrible. Somewhere between computer shopping and immigration papers, passport photos and packing, tea and television, resumes and reality I lost track of the time.

We did’t know just how long we would have to endure the distance. We both wished it could have been different, but it could not. In the early morning hours before he left, I struggled to convince myself that God must have something planned for both of us, and that this was not punishment.

a tea for everything

More Pictures

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