“I didnt kiss them goodbye.”
By Brie Gowen
I had just concluded a thirteen hour shift at the hospital as a critical care nurse, and nothing sounded better to me then going home to relax. What made it even better was I didnt work the next day, and once home I could enjoy pizza and a movie with my husband and three daughters. I loved them something fierce, and simply a quiet night together on the couch sounded like a dream come true.
About an hour and a half later I was doing just what I had anticipated. I was relaxing on the couch, playing with my phone, and enjoying some very rare peace and quiet. My husband had taken our three girls with him to pick up dinner, and I awaited their return with my tired feet propped up while sipping on a cold Diet Coke. But suddenly it struck me.
Theyve been gone a long time.
I looked up at the clock, and I confirmed that yes, they had been gone far longer than it took to pick up a pizza. We only lived five minutes from the restaurant. We could have had it delivered, but it was much quicker to pick it up. So why, then, had almost an hour passed before I even knew. Where were they?
Simple fix. I texted my spouse.
Where ya at?
I waited. I waited. I watched the message on my phone for some sign that it had been seen, but nothing.
Are yall ok?
I watched the text bubble stubbornly say delivered, but never read.
So naturally I called him. It rang, rang, and finally went to voicemail, but just prior to that I imagined the call being picked up by someone other than my spouse. A policeman perhaps.
I texted again.
Youre starting to worry me!
I could sense the desperation dripping from my typed words, and I could feel it rising up in my throat. The taste of worry mixed with an anxious fluttering of my heart, and still I kept watching my phone.
Just that week a friend had been in a terrible accident, and her toddler had not survived. I knew tragedy came quickly, and had seen it in my own life. My mothers sudden passing in her sleep had caught me so unaware I didnt believe for some time in my heart that she was gone, and I remember picking up the phone to call her time and time again before the reality of her absence would cruelly descend upon me. We were not promised another day, and though I tried to stop my rushing thoughts I couldnt hold them back any more than I could have prevented a sea of flood waters with my bare hands.
I didnt kiss them goodbye.
I quickly dialed the restaurant from which we had ordered, and when the young man answered I blurted out quickly, has the order for Gowen been picked up yet?!
Like I knife he replied casually, yeah, a while ago.
Thank you. I whispered, hitting the disconnect as I stepped into my shoes and fumbled for my keys. I had to find them. I had to make sure they were okay, and I crossed the room quickly, headed out the door on my very own search and rescue mission.
At some point, from the moment I grabbed my keys, to the instant I opened my front door, I recalled a story I had heard about the author of the old hymn It is Well With My Soul. I had read somewhere a couple of years back that the author Horatio Spafford had penned the lyrics directly after all of his daughters sank to their death in a ship at sea. At the time I had not allowed myself to give it much thought as to how I would react in his shoes. Some thoughts are simply unthinkable, you know? But as I hurried out of my home to find my family, and as the famous hymn came to mind, I considered the question to my self.
Will all be well, Lord?
Honestly, again I didnt want to think those thoughts, but somewhere in the center of my being, I imagine in my spirit and soul, a tiny yet strong voice whispered,yes.
As I flung myself down the front steps to my car I glimpsed glorious headlights coming up the drive, and I dont think an abundant flock of abnormally giant birds could have lifted me any higher than the sight of my minivan did right then. I glimpsed through the glass the questioning look on my husbands face at seeing me standing outside, and I felt this crazy emotion of anger at him that was quickly extinguished by gratitude and immense love.
My unfounded worries, that had perhaps been fueled by recent tragedy in my small community, could be blamed on the pursuit of blue, gummy sharks, as that gas station search had been the cause of their delay. And although laughable when you picture my spouse dragging three girls five and under from store to store to find the perfect sugary treat, all I could do after he told me was hug him tight. Like his life depended on my embrace.
In the end thats all I could do was enjoy the way my head fit perfectly in the pocket of his chest at that very moment, and its all I could do each and every day. I hug them like its the last, and I enjoy every day that comes to me as the gift it is. And underlying each and every interaction plays softly the song, Itis well with my soul.
About the Author:Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When shes not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. Shed love for you to check out her blogat BrieGowen.com.