Monday, February 12, 2007


Today's Daily Inspiration
The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
G.K. Chesterton
Today's Inspirational Story

Angels Send Valentines, Don't They?
On the most romantic day of the year, Judy's marriage had failed. How would she ever enjoy Valentine's Day again?
By Joan Wester Anderson

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us,
and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us,
and we only know them when they are gone.
—George Eliot

The valentines in the window displays seemed to mock Judy Kimball as she sloshed through the drugstore parking lot in Kent, Washington. As others demonstrated their love, she felt only loneliness and heartbreak. She glanced at passersby, all seemingly deep into their own thoughts. Other people's marriages failed, she knew, and somehow they went on living. But how? It had been only six days since her husband had told her he wanted a divorce, six days since her life had taken on a surreal feeling, and grief threatened to overwhelm her.

She hadn't expected anything like this to happen. They'd been together almost nineteen years, and she thought those had been happy years. But now she wondered how much of her husband's supposed contentment had been a lie. He had explained little, just gotten his things together and left while she and their three children reeled, trying to grasp what was happening. She hadn't shared the news with anyone yet, nor had she even cried. The hurt was too wrenching for talk or tears.

The first few days had passed in a blur, Somehow Judy summoned up the composure to cancel a dinner party she and her husband had planned to host on Saturday; she said that all three children had come down with the flu. And then there was her Wednesday night class in fiction writing. Now that the kids were older, she'd felt it was her turn to follow a long-held dream, to write, publish, and share any successes with her husband.

But now that dream was dead. She had skipped last week's class, and would probably drop out. What was the point? She had obviously failed at one of her most important tasks—being a beloved wife—so why should she expect success in any other aspect of her life? This trip to the drugstore for valentines for her children was the first time she'd ventured out all week, and it was taking its toll. She felt shaky and ill.

"Judy!" She heard the call from across the parking lot, and turned. Waving at her was Patricia, another student in her fiction writing class, wearing the same Black Watch plaid cape she always did. Judy waved back, hoping Patricia wouldn't come any closer. She seemed nice, but Judy didn't feel up to talking to anyone. Within seconds however, Patricia was at her side. "Hey, we missed class last week," she said, concern in her eyes. "Are you all right?"

The tears began to come. "My—my husband has asked separation—and ultimately a divorce. He's moved out." Judy astonished at her own words. Patricia was nothing more that casual acquaintance, someone who sat in the back of the classroom and occasionally smiled at her. Why was Judy sharing something personal with her?

But the compassion on Patricia's face was real. "Come on. It's chilly out here. Let's talk in my car." She guided Judy to a nearby vehicle.

The car seemed a warm and safe oasis, and Judy wept as she poured out her hurt, anger, and fear. Hadn't she tried, as best she knew how, to honor her commitment, to be the woman God wanted her to be? Why then, had he let this terrible thing happen to her and their precious children? She looked at Patricia and was shocked to see tears running down her cheeks. She shouldn't be putting this nice woman through this. She didn't even know if Patricia believed in God. "I'm so sorry to burden you with this," she whispered as her sobbing wound down. "You could never understand."

Patricia laid a hand on Judy's arm. "You're wrong," she said softly. "I do understand." Swiftly she removed something from her black cape and dropped it into Judy's hand. It was an angel pin.

"God hasn't forgotten you, Judy," Patricia said gently. "He just has other plans for you. You will survive this. Trust me."

"Thank you." Judy gave Patricia a quick hug and then slipped from the car. She was still shaky, but inside her—glowing as if for the first time—was a little flicker of hope. She closed her fingers around the angel pin and remembered the Lord's faithful promise, "I will never forsake you or abandon you" (Hebrews 13:5). She, who had always relied on her husband, was going to lean on God's strength now.

On the following Wednesday, Judy returned to her fiction class. It had taken a bit of interior pushing, but it was important that she make a beginning. And she knew Patricia, her newfound friend, would cheer her on. However, Patricia was absent, Nor did she come the next week, or the next. if only. Judy had thought to get her last name or telephone number! Class records were private, but on the following Wednesday, Judy approached the teacher. "Remember Patricia, the woman in the Black Watch plaid cape?" she asked.

The teacher looked mystified.

"She sat in the back of class," Judy added. "She hasn't been here the past few weeks, and I'd like to contact her."

The teacher shook her head. "I don't remember any woman in a plaid cape."

"Her first name was Patricia," Judy persisted. "If you can give me her last name.

The teacher ran her finger down the class roster, then looked at Judy. "There's no Patricia enrolled in this class," she said. "And no one by that name has dropped out."

"Pat? Patty? Tricia?"

The instructor shook her head. "Sorry. I wish I could help, but I'm afraid not."

Judy stood in a daze. You will survive this, Patricia had told her. Maybe Patricia had never been there for class. Maybe she had been there only for Judy. It was a mystery, but isn't life filled with them?

Judy sat down at her desk and reached for her notebook. She had a story to write.


Post a Comment

<< Home