• Grace Ehlers

i prayed this wouldn't happen

As many of you know, I travel with my husband, Harrison, for his work. He’s a radiation protection technician. He works for BHI energy, and they send him around to different plants for each outage. He only works seasonally, fall and spring. Since, Harrison works only periodically, he works twelve hour shifts six days a week. I won’t get into exactly what he does, because it can be a confusing job to comprehend.

So far, Harrison has gone to many different states / plants over the past five-ish years for his job. I visited him in Mississippi, Tennessee and Columbia, South Carolina before we were married. We currently live in Duncan, South Carolina.

Long distance never got easier, and I only seemed to cry harder each time Harrison left. We had made it through two seasons of long distance. The first outage was in the spring of 2020. He was gone for three months. I visited him twice (once in Mississippi and once in Columbia). We had only been dating for a month and a half when he left. The second season he was gone for two months. For the first month, he was in Minnesota, and I didn’t visit him. When he went to Tennessee for the second part of the outage, I was their majority of the time leaving him for only a week.

Harrison doesn’t get a lot of say in when he works, where he works, and what time he works. The biggest problem is the time he works. It is a challenge already to work that many days a week for that long each day, but when he would get night shift, I felt like my world was crashing down.

In Mississippi, he got day shift. In Columbia, he got night shift. In Minnesota, he got night shift. In Tennessee, he got day shift, but he almost got night shift. We got lucky that he made friends with a guy who was able to switch him. I was thankful beyond words.

Now, that you have the brief back story of the crazy career life my husband has, it’s time I share what I prayed wouldn’t happen.

Harrison and I left for Alabama on February 22. We were sent away with well wishes and prayers. Everyone (including us) was excited for this new adventure.

I quit my job. I said goodbye to my family, Harrison’s family, and my friends. We packed up a ton of stuff. Life was going to be so different for the next few months, but Tennessee had prepared us quite a bit for what it would be like traveling together.

I planned on reading, writing, and cooking during the day. I would use my hours alone to be productive.

I knew I would miss Harrison during the day. I would picture myself clenching my phone hoping to get a text from him. We don’t spend much time apart when we are home, and I was already getting excited at the thought of Harrison coming home after a long day. He would get home and eat dinner with me. Then, we would be able to sleep next to each other at night. (My primary love language is quality time with words of affirmation being my secondary.)

When thoughts of anxiousness regarding loneliness rose, I prayed. I knew Harrison could get put on night shift, but I prayed hard he wouldn’t. Before leaving, I expressed my anxiety to family and friends. They were also praying and hoping that he would get put on days.

I would comfort myself by saying there’s no way he would. God was already taking me far away from my comfort zone. I left everything to come here. Surely, He would ease me into this new life. I wouldn’t have to be in some random person’s house at night alone. I would have my husband’s warm and comforting sleeping body next to me at night.

Harrison came home from training a few days after being in Alabama, and I just knew immediately. I could tell he was reluctant to tell me. Who could blame him? He knew I would cry. It took me a couple of hours before I finally was able to question him on what I already knew.

I was so frustrated. It wasn’t even disappointment, just anger. I left everyone and everything to be with him on his outage. Day shift is difficult enough. Now, I will be in some random person’s house in the middle of the night. I will be awake when he sleeps and vice versa. There’s still things that have to be done during the day, and if I switched over to nights completely, I would have to stay home, just alone in a dark house all night. During the day, I can at least go grocery shopping, find coffee shops, and go to the library.

I kept having to bite my tongue, because I just wanted to lash out. I wanted to be mad. I wanted to fuss at my husband. I wanted to get mad at God.

I told Harrison I was frustrated with tears streaming down my face. I told him I didn’t want to be lonely. I told him that no matter how hard I was trying I couldn’t find a positive thing about this.

I never ended up lashing out on him directly. I just vented and cried. My husband was just as innocent as I was. He laid there rubbing my back as I cried in frustration and disappointment.

I asked God why.

Harrison didn’t sugarcoat it, and agreed there weren’t any positives. But after awhile he said, “We will make it work. We always have. This will be good for us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Finally, one tiny positive that I could hold onto to ease the anxiety running through me.

I cried a lot, but after awhile, my body relaxed. My mind stopped flooding with worries. I got up and washed my face. I did my makeup. Harrison and I were able to go out for dinner.

I prayed this wouldn’t happen, and it did. I can’t see the future like God can, but I am confident that God has a better plan in mind than I did.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I have another blog page where I post way more frequently on there as well. Check it out @ !!

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