I Am the Wife of an Immigrant

A month ago my husband Billy took a job in San Diego. He got on a place a couple days later and said a temporary good-bye to Ella and me and BBQ#2.

It's a long story, which I won't go into, but suffice it to say my husband has been working or volunteering at odd jobs for the last four years while continually searching for full-time, sustainable employment. This employer in San Diego has been offering hi this position for nearly three years. With a new baby on the way, we had a conversation and Billy decided, "I gotta go."

There's a documentary called The Other Side of Immigration that remains back with the families and communities that are "left behind" when men venture to the States to work. I have been thinking about that film repeatedly this month. I am the wife of an immigrant.

What surprised me about this experience was not the increased workload without a partner. I have a sweet community who quickly and eagerly rose up to offer support. And working hard is simply life... taking out the trash, doing the dishes, getting me and my daughter where we need to go, working, doing laundry. It's exhausting, but it's life. Plenty of people manage day-to-day details on their own.

Nor was I overwhelmed by my sadness of Billy being absent. I know I would miss having him around to make me laugh (and provide good material for blog posts). And I fully expected to eagerly await his return. I also anticipated the incessant "Papi?... Where Papi?" questions I did receive from Ella.

No. What snuck up on me unexpectedly was the wave of sadness I felt that the city I love and call home couldn't find a place for my husband. I felt betrayed... not by individuals... but by a place that I have loved for more than a decade.

And then I kept thinking... what's that feel like when it's your country of origin? When the place where you were born... the country that you know and love... cannot find a place for you to work and live? It's a very sad emotion... and I'm not even sure I can articulate it well. Disappointment, betrayal, abandonment? I can't find the right word.

But my heart has been with immigrant families this month. Those that don't have the luxuries we have had of video chats, texting, phone calls, and the security that Billy will not be arrested, murdered, or left to die in the desert. (I mean, I guess those are always risks... but I think you feel my point.)

Our original plan was that Billy would remain in San Diego for 3-6 months. (Billy kept saying six, and I kept saying, "Lets' re-evaluate after three.") But... in the mysterious ways of the Lord... Billy was offered a full time job in Atlanta this past weekend. And he is flying home today! We give praise to God!

And our hearts still pray for families who cannot be reunited so easily. Those who are apart 3 months, 8 years, and longer to be able to provide for their families. It is not easy leaving, and it is not easy being left behind.

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  1. Of course I'm reading my own experience into your post, but the same difficult feeling evades articulation when the church that has raised and loved you and that you have loved has no place for you either.

    Powerful reflection. Thank you.
    And I couldn't be happier to hear of this long answered prayer. May God continue to bless and keep you dear friend.

    1. Hi Holly. I appreciate your response, and I can definitely understand the similar emotions.

      I think there are situations where we leave the comfortable because we're branching out, taking risks, seeking adventures. But sometimes I think I forget there are situations where we are pushed out or rejected or simply cannot find a space in the place where we want to be. That creates a very different set of emotions.

      Thank you for reading your own experience into the post ~ I love it! :) Thank you for your encouragement, and we are sending love to your family during this season as well.

  2. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Glad to hear your boy will be back (or maybe is already)! A good job is hard to find these days. What did he end up getting? Miss seeing you... katherine

  3. Anonymous1:31 PM

    haha..i'm anonymous cousin katherine! :)

  4. Very touching post...
    I'm so happy you four are together now!

  5. Thank you so much, Dana and Katherine!

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  7. Sarah S2:00 PM

    Overjoyed for your family, Sarah! You continue to put into words the emotions of our similar journey and am rejoicing for this long awaited provision - and for the news of the little one on the way!! Bendiciones a la familia :) (ha! ignore that previous post...)

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah. It's always great to hear that others can relate! Thanks for the congrats and thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  8. Sarah, thank you so much for sharing this post. I never thought of it this way. I'm SO THANKFUL Billy got a job in Atlanta! What will he be doing? And another baby on the way!! I'm so happy for you!! How did I not know this?! ;-) Praying for all!
    Much love, Aunt Dawn


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