Monday, April 17, 2006

ASIA...saying good-bye - but not for too long

Today finally arrived. At 9:30 this morning I placed my wife, Michelle, on a plane that would start a journey ending in Shanghai, China. She took a jumper flight from Milwaukee to O’Hare, and then at 16 hour flight from O’Hare to Shanghai. This is the start of a 6 -7 month assignment in the Asia/Pacific region with her company.

Michelle has been traveling a lot lately, so I have gotten quite used to dropping her off at the airport, but normally I pick her up again in a few days. It is never more than a week (and that is rare). But this will be 6 weeks until we see each other again. I cannot even begin to explain how strange this feels. I am alone in bed tonight, I will be eating more by myself, and the house is eerily quiet. Marriage brings two people so close, so intimate, and for that to just fly away is quite bizarre, surreal even.

The parting at the airport seemed like I was living a movie, even more like I was viewing a movie. It was emotional, but did not feel like it was really happening. Life’s most dramatic moves occur in the simplest and smallest of maneuvers. We hugged and kissed, embraced each other, and then again; the whole time fighting off the tears. I just wanted to walk away at that point, while Michelle walked through the security check, but I couldn’t leave. I watched her as long as I could until she walked beyond my eyesight. I finally made the hard turn to begin exiting the terminal, and then the tears came. I took a few deep breaths, and pressed on in life; reminding myself, “it is really more like five weeks”.

While the distance may be hard, I am really excited for her. Michelle dreams of traveling, and this will bring travel. While she will be living in Shanghai, she will be traveling all over the region: Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Bangkok, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Auckland. What husband would not let his wife take such a trip? She is helping the Asia/Pacific market get up to speed on their marketing strategy and implementation. So, this is also a great career move. If you want to keep up with her adventure, she will be keeping a blog, I am sure she would love it if you dropped a comments from time to time.

Michelle will be back in the states at the end of May for a wedding, and then a conference in Chicago, and then back to China. I will be living in Shanghai with her from mid June to mid August, so we will not be separate the whole 6 months. Michelle will come home mid the end of October.

We are excited about the work God will do through this, both within us and our marriage, as well as the ministry we will have as individuals during this time. Please pray for us, this will obviously be stressful on our marriage, but also a great time for growth. We know there is a lot to be learned. We’ve been praying that distance truly makes the heart grow fonder, that we would find time for ministry we would not have being together; strengthening of our marriage, and a deeper appreciation for our yearning for Christ and being fully united to Him.

Thanks for the support from all of you, we would appreciate the prayers.


Jenny said...

Hey Joe! I'll keep both you and Michelle in my prayers every day. I know it's going to be hard being apart from each other. The good news is it's only for a few weeks!

I look forward to seeing you for Family Dinner on Wednesday!

timmer k. said...

My heart breaks for you, my friend. I trust that this will ultimately be best for you and Michelle...yet I know it sucks real bad right now. If in the midst of this you feel like taking a drive up to Minneapolis, there will always be a place for you to stay. You guys will be in our prayers.

A. Engler said...

You're sacrifice for her is increadible. There are a lot of men in the world that wouldn't do the same. You two are of course in my prayers, still and again. When will she be in MKE? I'll be driving through the Milwaukee region like the 24th-ish or so with another certain girl on my way to Mpls, where I'll be for the summer. But if Michelle's in town then, well, maybe just come to Mpls before you's where the party's at this summer. Anyway, I hope to see you at some point when I'm within 400 miles of you. Miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!

May the lord sustain and uphold your covenant of love, and may he sheild you from any darts of the enemy, in Christ's name. AMEN!