It was midnight, and I expected Bill home at any moment. He was driving back from a long day in Southern California traffic, so I had been praying for his safe travels. I dozed a bit into a light sleep, only to have my cell phone’s harsh ring wake me. I heard Bill’s voice; a bit rushed, he blurted out, “I have been in an accident. The truck is totaled. The CHP is here. Will call you back. Love you.”
“Love you. Be safe!” I replied as I heard the call click to an abrupt end.
Crashing To A Halt
My mind was a blur of questions and emotions. I was relieved to know Bill was alive. Our life together flashed before my eyes, moments strung together by love. I was relieved, but I had no idea if or how badly he might be hurt. I had no clue to where he even was, or if anyone else might be effected, and not a shred of information about what had transpired. But I knew he was alive, and I was very, very relieved and grateful that Bill was obviously safe and well enough to call me so I wouldn’t worry when he didn’t arrive home.
Hours later, he called back. He needed a ride home. The truck had been rear-ended at full speed by a young distracted driver. Upon impact, the force of the blow caused the truck Bill was driving to spin out of control and it slammed into the cement barrier on the right side of the freeway. The passenger side was demolished–compressed like an accordion. Nine times out of 10, I would have typically been in that passenger seat, next to Bill, but a day packed with ministry responsibilities had kept me home. I somberly concluded that I, too, had dodged death.
Not Letting Go
I prayed as I got in the car at 2 am to go pick up my husband. I prayed diligently because the ocean fog had set in like thick pea soup so much that I could no longer read any road signs. I was simply driving from memory, on a near empty freeway. I was alone and frightened of what could now happen to me on this dangerous stretch of road.
As I drove up to the address Bill had texted to me, I spotted my weary husband, standing at the gas station on a dark, cold, foggy night. Almost immediately, all the pent in emotions I had been holding in released. We held one another, and I sobbed into his strong, familiar chest, comforted by his rhythmic, yet racing heartbeat.
One of the verses that ran through my mind at that moment was Song of Songs 3:4: “I have found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go.”
Neither of us wanted to release the other from this embrace of gratitude. We both uttered a quick prayer of thankfulness to God. Bill looked intently into my eyes and said, “There is a very good reason that on our honeymoon, 37 years ago, we committed to always say, ‘I love you’ as we say good bye.” Since then, we’ve stuck to our commitment to say “I love you” every time before parting or as we hang up the phone.
It only takes a moment for your life to change forever.
It only takes a moment to say “I love you” – and you will be glad you did.
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