I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today
William Allen White

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Positive Inspirational Personal Growth Stories

The greatest treasure

Like many career military spouses, I couldn't wait until my husband retired. My husband and I were probably the worst couple in the active duty Navy to ever go through deployment separations. As much as my husband loved the sea, he missed me with a passion, and as much as I supported him in his chosen career, I hated every moment away from him.

I coped with our separations the best way that I could. I prayed for his safety, wrote letters every day, and I prepared for each deployment in advance. I made up dozens of small notes and packages for him, which I secretly tucked into his sea bag, so that he could discover them when he was out to sea. We both kept separate journals, which we wrote in every day, sharing tidbits of the lives we led apart. To this day those notes are still precious to us.

Finally in 1996 my husband retired from the Navy. We moved back to the Virginia mountains that we loved, unaware that we were diving into the longest separation of our marriage. My asthma made it impossible for me to live in the city, and the only job available for my husband was six-and-a-half hours away in Norfolk, Virginia.

We spent eight months apart. By this time email was available, so we finally were able to share our love every single day. That was our hardest separation, perhaps because we had planned to be together, and we had never planned to be apart. Louie came to visit as often as he could. We drove to be with him on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He continued to apply for jobs in the area in which we hoped to live, and we prayed that soon we would be able to be together as a family again.

One day Louie called me with the good news. He had a job opportunity in southwest Virginia, right in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. We were thrilled! Louie was hired immediately, and we would soon be a family again. There was only one small problem. Louie would have to live in a camper, while our daughters and I lived in a little house an hour-and-a-half away, until we could find just the right house.

Okay, I told myself. I know how to do this. We've been separated before. My resolve lasted three days. I turned to my daughters, both old enough to take care of themselves, and I announced, "Okay girls, you're on your own! I'm going to be with my husband!"

In minutes I was packed, and I was on my way to be reunited with my beloved. I drove over mountain roads through a driving rainstorm. Night-blind and terrified, not even a police road block outside the state prison could keep me from my destination. God bless the Virginia State Police! They waved me through, before I could sob out my entire story.

There's no doubt in my mind that angels guided me. I'd have never found that campground in the dark by myself. As I drove up, I could see my husband, reading by the light of a tiny lamp, framed by the camper window. I pulled to a halt, nearly killing myself getting out of the car, as he threw the camper door open. Louis's hand reached out for me, as I stumbled into his arms. Such warmth and affection was worth a journey of a thousand miles!

Louie and I spent a glorious three-and-a-half weeks together. One morning after he had left for work, I sat alone in the camper trying to remember any possession that was as priceless as the time God had given us together. I couldn't think of a single thing. We moved into that camper and lived there for a year, squeezed together like sardines. It was pure joy! I learned in that year that the greatest treasure I have is the time I've been given with the ones I love. The worldly treasures that we gave away? You know, I still can't recall a single thing.

Written by Jaye Lewis

Jaye Lewis is an award winning writer and contributing author for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Jaye lives happily with her family in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, USA.

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