Thursday, June 30, 2011

When 'Distance' Is A Blessing

You know when you hear bad news,
and later learn it wasn’t quite as horrible as you thought?
That was me and my wife in 2007.
 
When I was sentenced for injuring two people in a drunk-driving accident,
we knew it could have been worse.
 
State law allowed the prosecutor to push for a mandatory-minimum sentence under Oregon’s Measure 11,
which could have given me 72 months of incarceration,
rather than the 50 months with possible early release that I received.

Would you call that a blessing?
We do.

In a list of blessings we had been counting,
it was one more to help affirm our re-commitment to serve and love God no matter what.
 
So after spending my first month in a lock-down facility for observation (read more Here),
I called my wife to notify her of my transfer to the only Maximum Security Facility in the state (read more Here).
Her tears came once again in what must have seemed like a continuously bad nightmare,
and I could hear the fear for me in her voice.
 
Was God there? In that moment?
You bet!

Although it would be difficult to imagine,
 this facility had benefits we would learn about only as we trusted God more.
How could there be a benefit?
Well, the most important reason... visiting!
First, better visiting hours, And they lasted longer.
Since my wife works nights and weekends as a nurse,
she would have missed seeing me due to the limited visiting hours at the “closer” facility.
Second, this place allowed for 3 hour visits, compared with 1 hour at the Minimum Security location.
Lastly, in spite of the depressingly loud,
mechanically controlled metal-bars all visitors must pass through to enter the visiting room,
in this location we could hold hands as we sat across from one another
in what came to be a very intimate time for us. (read more abut this Here)

Intimate? How??
Think about it like this for a minute...

How often do you sit across from your spouse, hold hands, share your day & listen to theirs?
When do we stop long enough to look into one another’s eyes so that you can literally feel the warmth and affection in their gaze?

Maybe when we first begin to date this happens,
but there is little of the deep love and affection as we simply talk and ask questions to get to know one another.
And that’s what this afforded us,
the chance to get to know one another all over again.

Maybe I am a simple man who was glad to learn to love his wife all over again.

But here, we could visit more often without interfering with her work schedule.

So although the drive was farther and seemed longer, it was mostly highway,
and my wife spent only fifteen additional minutes driving to visit me.

And it was God’s way of using her to show His love for me,
because her actions spoke louder than any words ever could.
I will be forever grateful to you my darling wife.

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