Unexpected Gifts

I’ve been emailing back and forth a bit with a friend who lost her husband almost ten years ago.  In one of her emails she was telling me about several incidents that happened to her after her husband died where she had a distinct feeling that God was with her in a specific and special way, reminding her of her spouse.  The kind of stories that make you say – wow, that is amazing.

I told her that I hadn’t had any of those experiences in the past few weeks.  That maybe I would at some point.  I don’t know where this ranks, but for me, today, I had one of those oh-my-goodness/take-your-breath-away moments.

I found a journal.  It was hers, and sitting as plain as day in my bedside table.  I was cleaning out some books and stuff, saw it and opened it and I immediately had a strong memory of what it was.

After my junior year in college, when Susan and I had been dating for three years, I went on an overseas mission trip to Kazakhstan.  It was five weeks long, which for a dating couple madly in love, felt like an eternity for both of us.  It was a situation where there was very, very little communication.  Only a phone call here and there, with the frequent chance of getting cut off, and obviously, no email.  (My kids can’t understand a world without the internet)  We were basically cut off from each other.

Both of us committed to keeping journals for one another.  This was hers.  Now recently, I’ve found a bunch of letters that she kept.  Back in the day (again, pre-email), when we were dating, we would write each other in the summers.  I was usually in Raleigh, she was in Charlotte.  She kept all of these letters I sent her (and I must say, I wrote a lot – pretty proud of myself for that).  What I wasn’t proud of is that I apparently didn’t keep any of hers to me.  (typical guy)  So I have been reading the ones she kept, but just reading what I said to her.  Which has been cool, but I tire of reading myself pretty easily.

This journal I found, though – it’s a whole book full of her thoughts and feelings about us, and what the “separation” we were experiencing felt like.  Wow.  On the first page I turned to, she mentioned a song that she’d started listening to that day that made her start to cry because it made her think about us and the distance between us at that point.  It’s crazy, but I’ve been listening to that same song lately.  And to have the first thing I read be an entry from her talking about that same song 17 years ago…it was pretty unexpectedly overwhelming.

Maybe this journal has been in this drawer for a long, long time and I just found it.  Or maybe she left it for me…I don’t know.  But to have her words about how she felt when we were so far apart in those days…it just means a lot to me right now.

I’m going to get back to Job sometime here.  Just wanted to share that with you.

On an unrelated note – most of you know that I’m the lead/teaching pastor of Lake Norman Community Church in Huntersville NC.  We are having an “open house” type brunch this Sunday from 10-11:30.  No service, just a hang-out time and a chance to eat some good food.  Just wanted you to know that everyone is invited, and this would be a good chance to check things out if you’re looking for a church home.  Email me at jerellaw@mac.com to RSVP, our church site is www.LKNChurch.com.


4 Responses to “Unexpected Gifts”

  1. Misty Dove Says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!

  2. Carolyn Says:

    What a beautiful, touching story. Being a woman, I believe that a journal is something that would probably have been stored away somewhere with other memorabilia and that Susan purposely took it out and placed it where she knew you would soon find it. Would you mind sharing with us the name of the song that you both listened to?

  3. Jenni Says:

    Jerel…. there are two pictures of Susan calling you when you were in Kazakhstan in that book of old pictures. You can see on her face the worry that the distance caused and the joy once you two connected! I remember both distinctly. I wondered when I put the book together why I had taken those pictures now I know… check it out. Jenni

    • susanlaw Says:

      I saw those, Jenni. Really great – I have loved looking at that book, especially in the past few weeks. Thank you so much for putting it together…and for keeping all those pics. Amazing you still had them.

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