He had never been away from home this long. The trip he was about to take would
find him in cities and towns he had never seen and among perfect strangers.
In the past, if he would be away for even a night, he would always leave special notes and "I love you" cards for his wife to find. A "Sleep well, my love and dream about me!" Note card would always grace her pillow.
"Eat a good meal and be careful driving!" Would be tucked into her day planner the night before he left. He would always sign them, "Say a prayer for me! I will love you always, Jim"
You see, each night before going to sleep, Jim and Julie knelt beside their bed and would say their prayers together. This special moment was shared even during those times apart. At a designated time each night they would kneel beside the bed and although in two separate locations would say their prayers out loud.
Because he traveled often, on mostly one night stays, they decided to add a special companion to their family. "Buddy," was a young mixed breed they rescued from the local dog pound. Bright, spirited and loving, Buddy made those overnights a little easier to take. But Buddy would play a very important role in their lives during this extended time away from home.
As usual, the night before he left, Jim wrote and placed his special notes throughout the house. Because of the extended length of time he also managed to mail a few special cards that would arrive almost daily.
On his first day when arriving at the airport, Jim called his wife at work to assure her that he had arrived safely. "I'm fine!" He said. "But I miss you already!" He continued with sadness in his voice.
"I miss you, too! I don't like that fact that you are so very far away," Julie told him. "The house will feel so empty without you!"
"Hey, at least you have Buddy!" Jim said laughing. "He has a special present for you. If all goes well, you'll find out about it tonight when we say our prayers. I need to go now. I still need to drive the rest of the distance to the conference. It'll take me about four hours to get there. Say a prayer for me, I will always love you!"
It was about 9 p.m. that night and Julie had not yet received a phone call from Jim. He had promised to call when he arrived. At about 9:15 the phone rang.
"Julie, this is Tom. I work with your husband." The voice on the phone said.
"Is everything okay?" Julie asked.
"Julie, there's been an accident. I'm with Jim here at the local hospital." There was a pause. "He's in bad shape," Tom said.
"I need to be there!" She immediately responded.
"Julie, it would be best if you waited until morning. There is no way to get you here safely."
"Will he be alright?" She asked. There was silence. "Will he be alright?" She shouted.
"God will take care of him," was the reply. He went on to tell her that they had arranged for her to be flown directly to the area first thing in the morning.
As she hung up the phone, the silence was broken by a desperate plea.
"Dear God! Help us!" She screamed.
Buddy, who had been seated by her side, suddenly ran upstairs. Julie thought that she had frightened him. Glancing at the clock she noticed that it was 10 p.m. their designated time for prayer together. Feeling this to be more important than ever, she ran upstairs to say her prayers for his recovery.
As she entered the room, there along side the bed was Buddy. He was sitting with his head bowed and for as long as he could, he kept raising his right paw. He paused for a moment and looked at her. Wagging his tail he ran over to her barking. Julie took her place kneeling beside the bed. "Dear God," she said. Buddy jumped up, ran over next to her, lowered his head and raised his right paw. Baffled by his response she continued her prayers.
As she pleaded for Jim's life, Julie happened to glance up and there sticking out from under the covers was a note from Jim. It said, "If you said your prayers tonight with me, you might have noticed Buddy. It took a long time, but I taught him to respond to the words "Dear God." That way you'd never be alone during our special time." As always he signed it, "Say a prayer for me. I will always love you, Jim."
Julie turned toward Buddy and once again repeated, "Dear God." He returned to the same position, peaking up every once in a while looking for the loving approval he always got from Jim. If tears could make rivers, one would have flowed from that room.
Julie eventually fell asleep lying on the floor next to Buddy. It was about 6 a.m. when the phone rang awakening her abruptly.
"Julie, this is Tom," she heard a voice say. "Julie, the doctors say Jim will be okay. They have no idea how this all turned around so quickly.
It's a miracle!"
"Dear God!" She said and Buddy, responding to the words, sat down, lowered his head and raised his right paw.
By Bob Perks, (c) 2002 mailto:Bob@BobPerks.com
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