A Brand New Storm

We immediately headed back into counseling.  It would be our last session together.


We made yet another deal.  The time frame was actually my husband’s idea.  He would give himself one month — not nine! — to “make it or break it”.  My end of the bargain was to give him as much support as he needed, without putting pressure on him.  We all shook hands and marked our calendars.  March 16th was the “deadline”.

One month was better than nine.  I felt a huge sense of relief, yet still frustrated.  It didn’t seem fair. My marriage counselor pulled me aside.

“Leslie, I know this is SACRIFICIAL, but I do believe it will be like that paradox of the Prodigal Son/ Waiting Father parable.  If you love him, set him free.  Then he will have the freedom to really return to you out of love, not law!”

More than anything, I wanted my husband to return to me out of love, so I agreed.   We also agreed to pray for and encourage one another.  In addition, we would utilize the daily devotional book that our counselor had recommended.

To this day, I read it, even though the title makes me giggle.  “Jesus Calling!  Hello?!”

Andrea and I were committed to a bachelorette party that weekend in Palm Springs.  It was a much-needed getaway.  We would be staying in a lovely home with a sparkling pool, drinking champagne cocktails, watching girly movies, painting our nails and celebrating the end of our dear friend’s singlehood.  Furthermore, I couldn’t wait to drive the golf cart.

Andrea picked me up Friday afternoon in “The Potato”.  My husband helped me carry my luggage to the car.

“Hey, will you email me ‘Jesus Calling’ while I’m away?” I asked him, as he loaded my tiny suitcase onto the smooth, leather seat in the back. I fumbled in my purse for my sunglasses.

“I will,” he said.  He shut the door.  I found my glasses, but held them in my hand.  We stood, awkwardly, for a moment.

“Have a safe trip to Australia,” I offered. His flight was leaving that Sunday — just a few hours before Andrea, the Potato and I would return to Los Angeles.

“I love you, Leslie.”

I searched his face.  Perhaps I was searching his soul.
“I love you, too.”

He gave me a hug.  I got in the car, and we drove away.

As I was relaxing on day two of the bachelorette weekend with my girlfriends, my husband wrote me.  He had typed out the “Jesus Calling” devotional.  In addition, he said that he missed me, and wanted a new start.  He thought we could be better than we ever were.

I want to believe you, I responded.  Just please keep in touch.

He said he would keep in touch, and this time would be different.  He was praying for God’s will, and also praying that he would do a good job.  He hoped that his career would excite me again.  He wanted big things for both of us.  He imagined flying from Australia to New York, catching a cab and meeting me in my dressing room just before I took the Broadway stage.

I just want to start with being loved and trusting you, was my response.

I understand your personality.  I also think reality needs to be dealt with gracefully.  Our dreams won’t be accomplished if we cannot handle the small, daily things in our lives.  My dreams have never changed.  My reality has.

Some of my dreams include being with you, traveling together, taking even just a weekend – no phones or computers – to remember who we are together. Get to know each other again. We are still living such separate lives and it makes me sad. 

My husband left the country on February 21, 2010.  He called me on his way to the airport to say goodbye.  We told each other — again – that we loved each other.  March 16th was just around the corner, and I was grateful to have an end in sight.

I’ll never forget the way the sky looked that day, as Andrea drove us back from Palm Springs.  It was astounding.  The clouds were thick and billowy, yet the sun’s brilliant light had no trouble shining through the darkness.  The mountains were still lightly dusted with snow; the air was clean, balmy and fragrant.   I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace.
It was the calm before the storm, but this was a brand new storm: one that would fuel me with strength and clarity.
Little did I know, as I captured random photos of the picturesque horizon, it would take my husband nine weeks and five days to return.  And, in that time, both of our lives would be forever changed.

2 thoughts on “A Brand New Storm

  1. Sophi Gilliland says:

    yeah, this one is a very good one indeed…….leaving you hanging with suspense……but sad because it’s true.

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