76: Did You Love Me?

76: Did You Love Me?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Did You Love Me?

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

~Psalm 34:18

My soul ached. I stared blankly at the e-mail I had received telling me my husband had succumbed to ALS. It had been ten long months since his sudden departure a few weeks after our wedding. He couldn’t put me through it, he said. He couldn’t watch me watch him dwindle to nothingness.

The last time we spoke he told me that when the time came, I should go to our favorite beach and celebrate him.

The coolness of the California night hit me immediately as I pulled into the hotel. The sadness of his death coupled with the last ten grueling months weighed heavy on me. I slept deeply and woke at the crack of dawn with only one thought fueling me: “Get to the beach.” I quickly dressed in my running clothes and jumped into my truck. I drove the few short miles to our favorite beach and parked, inhaling the delicious salt air and letting the gentle sound of the pounding waves soothe me.

What had bothered me during those ten months was simple: How had I married someone who could leave me so easily? Did he love me? Did I not know what love was? How could I be so blind? Why did God let this happen?

I felt used and foolish. Our courtship and wedding had been beautiful. Despite the fact that he was dying, we felt like we had it all. We truly felt God had a greater purpose for us and would see us through what was going to be a difficult time.

I remembered the laughter, the inside jokes, his love of Coca-Cola and the half empty Coke cans he would leave in the fridge. I thought about the way he would look at me and brag about me to anyone who would listen.

And then he was gone and I was alone, left to wonder what had just happened.

As I made my way from the cliff to the beach below, I was alone. The surfers were still up top staring at the waves. It was overcast and as I started to run I noticed how smooth and blank the wet sand was, the tide having just gone out. Suddenly I was sprinting, my heart beating hard and my breath catching in the cool morning air. I ran and ran until I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

I stopped running and faced the ocean, shouting my anguish to the Lord.

“Why did this happen? I thought You had a purpose for us! Why did he leave? Did he ever love me?” I sat down in the still wet sand and sobbed.

And then I heard a voice. “Look at where you came from . . .”

I sniffed loudly and ran my arm under my runny nose. “Look at where I came from?” I answered angrily, “That’s all I’ve been doing!”

The voice was still and small. “Look at where you came from.”

I sniffed again, got up, and dutifully looked at where I had come from on the beach and gasped, my hand flying to my mouth.

There was another set of shoe prints right next to mine in the wet sand. I looked around. Could I have missed seeing someone else on the beach? No, I was still alone.

Excitement rose in me, “Lord! Is it You?” I asked. “No, it can’t be You. You’d be barefoot!” I exclaimed.

I bent over the prints and looked at the familiar running shoe tread of my husband’s shoes in the sand next to mine, his stride longer than mine, but there! Once ALS had taken his hands, I had put those shoes on his feet so many times that I knew the tread like the back of my own hand.

I started to cry again, but this time they were tears of joy. My words were a jumble talking to him and to God.

“You did love me, you did, thank you,” I sang out through the tears. “Thank you Lord for letting me know. Thank you for healing me. Thank you for this confirmation, and look Jon, your foot isn’t dragging! It must feel so good for you to run! ALS can’t touch you in Heaven!”

~Lily Blais

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