there’s something I have to tell you … ”
joined me for a marriage seminar and workshop exercise on Friday
afternoon, December 12, 1975. It marked the beginning of our fiery
relationships need to cultivate emotional intimacy — the
ability to share our innermost thoughts, needs and feelings with
each other,” the leader explained. “Because your eyes
window your emotions, it’s very important for each couple
to maintain direct eye contact with each other the entire time.”
took my hands in his and looked deep into my eyes as we locked
our gaze and temporarily shut out everyone and everything around
us. Neither of us spoke, but emotion quickly surfaced.
Chuck’s brown eyes reflected familiar warmth and I sensed
his deep love and appreciation for me. Then suddenly they filled
with tears. He tightened his grip on my hands and his eyes took
on a pained look of fear and desperation.
wrong?” I asked.
nothing to me, but his emotional response intensified and he held
onto my hands even tighter.
holding on to me as though if you dared let go I’d run away
forever,” I said. And with that his emotions broke.
… don’t know … what’s wrong.” His
words came in choked sobs as he struggled to regain his composure.
it’s OK. I’m not going anywhere.”
not one to talk with me at a deep level, but God opened the doors
of communication for us that afternoon. I followed him home in
my car, and then I seemed to lose him in traffic. I pulled into
our driveway surprised that his car wasn’t there and went
into the house wondering where he was. About half an hour passed
and he still hadn’t come home. On the edge of panic I went
back outside just as his Corvette pulled into our driveway. He
sat in the car his eyes red and swollen.
happened?” I asked.
I passed the turnoff from the freeway to our house I suddenly
burst into tears and had a strong impulse to get away from it
all. I stayed on the freeway and headed east to the mountains;
then I realized I could not run away from myself and I had to
come back home.”
the Rhythm of Love
Neil Clark Warren
for the Other
Five Love Languages
here and look for the WANT MORE? link or call
next 36 hours nothing I said or did eased his consuming fear of
losing me. It remained a mystery.
Sunday morning (December 14, 1975) he came to me with a contrite
spirit and confessed the thing that had tormented his soul for
more than a year.
you’re so honest with me, there’s something I must
tell you,” he said. “A year ago I had an affair.”
And then he told me her name. “I confessed my sin to God,”
he continued, “and vowed never to do it again. I know He’s
forgiven me. It’s been over for a year. I planned to take
this secret with me to my grave, and you would never need to know.
But I also sinned against you, and now I must ask you to forgive
cut through my heart like a knife. I stood there stunned, unable
to believe what I was hearing. To complicate things further, the
woman was no stranger to me.
metallic taste filled my mouth as shock spread throughout my body.
I felt betrayed and embarrassed that I had been so stupid and
naive. I never suspected anything.
at that moment, however, I felt nothing. “This is not going
to be a secret; she’s going to know that I know,”
I said without emotion.
tell her,” Chuck said. He picked up the phone and told her
what he had just told me.
minutes later, I headed for the bathroom and locked the door.
The sting of betrayal went deep; my emotions erupted in gut-wrenching
sobs as I concluded that 17 years of marriage had ended. What
would I do?
next 18 hours I struggled to make sense of what Chuck had told
me. My emotions vacillated from stunned disbelief to confusion,
denial, anger, rage and pain. But before going to bed that night
I threw my arms around my husband’s neck and sobbed. How
could I stop loving someone I had loved for all these years?
as I lay in bed, I realized this was greater than I could forgive.
The reality of what had happened gave way to overwhelming despair.
I silently cried out to the Lord, Where do I go from here?
glow filled the area over our bed and a black line came down separating
Chuck and me. On his side of the line these words in black letters
hung suspended in space:
were not angry or vindictive words, but rather words bathed in
tender compassion. I saw that God’s vengeance is different
from ours. He does not destroy to get even, but He breaks that
He might restore. He did not take sides, but was working in both
of our lives at the same time.
moment I comprehended an aspect of forgiveness through Christ’s
death on the cross that I had not grasped before. The powers of
darkness seek to destroy us by using those we love the most to
inflict devastating wounds that we find impossible to forgive.
Christ defeated Satan and those powers 2,000 years ago through
His sacrificial death on the cross and paid the penalty for all
sin big or small. It matters not the size of our sin; we all stand
in need of forgiveness.
is a gift direct from the heart of God through His Son to all
who come to Him in repentance. I realized forgiveness was not
something I had to muster up in my own strength; I need only be
a vessel willing to share a gift that God has already given. As
I examined myself I could not help but think, If God has forgiven
my sins, how could I do less than share that same forgiveness
that God had begun in our lives would take time; it did not magically
happen overnight. I had only a tiny spark of life left in me;
and shock continued to take its toll on my mind and body and emotions
over the next few days.
morning I knew I needed to get away to sort things out in my mind.
Chuck bought me an airline ticket to see my mom in Little Rock,
Ark. At first I was going alone to see my mother, but because
of a difficult relationship with my stepfather I asked Chuck to
go with me.
strike prevented us from purchasing another ticket, so we drove.
That put us together in the small interior of his 1974 Corvette
where we did a lot of talking over the three-day trip.
had recently visited the Prayer Tower on the campus of Oral Roberts
University, and I wanted to stop there on the way to their house.
I began to know that the Lord would fix things for us there. I
never imagined His means.
all night. We arrived in Tulsa midmorning on Friday and drove
to the ORU campus, but we were too exhausted to take a tour. We
found a motel and slept for a few hours. When we woke up, bizarre
things began to happen to me. I had slept very little for a week.
With all that had happened, coupled with sleep deprivation, I
began to lose touch with reality. It was as though I was locked
in a life-and-death battle with evil.
became terrified as he watched my body become stiff with eyes
dilated and locked in an unblinking stare. He said my eyes were
angry with a look-right-through-him stare. I could no longer reason.
I refused to believe that anything going on around me was real,
and I didn’t trust anything he said to me. I didn’t
believe him when he told me an ambulance was coming to get me.
I knew that I was Loraine Buck, I was 33 years old and I was in
Tulsa, Okla. I knew God was with me but beyond that nothing was
the ambulance come. I saw the sharp finger jabs coming at my eyes
from the EMT as he tried to evoke a blink reflex. I know that
they put me on the gurney and covered my body with a sheet and
wheeled me into the ambulance. I also heard them tell Chuck that
the hospital was a pink palace on the hill, which only proved
to me that this was all part of my imagination and my mind was
playing tricks on me. (The St. Francis hospital in Tulsa is known
as the pink palace on the hill.)
way to the hospital the attendant asked me questions, but I answered
only what I knew for sure. “I am Loraine Buck, I’m
33 years old and I’m in Tulsa, Okla.”
me down the hall to a trauma room. There I saw operating room
lights and all the other paraphernalia necessary for emergency
treatment. Because of my nursing experience this scene was familiar
to me, so once again I concluded it was not real and that my mind
was tricking me.
knowing Chuck would come. At that point there was nothing the
medical staff at St. Francis Hospital could do to bring me out
of the catatonic state so the doctor was in the process of making
arrangements to move me to a long-term psychiatric facility.
the motel Chuck had watched as the ambulance hauled me away, sirens
blaring. In the agonizing silence of our motel room he realized
he was 1,800 miles from home and family and friends. He sat on
the bed and wept, feeling certain that I’d lost my mind
and would never be normal again.
told me, “I got down on my knees and prayed for our marriage
and asked God for direction as to what I should do but my prayers
seemed to bounce off the ceiling. I didn’t think God heard
me. I felt nothing.”
to call my parents and explain what happened. My mom assured him
that I was in the Lord’s hands and would be taken care of
in the hospital. She told him to come on to their house in Arkansas
and they would come back with him to Tulsa the next day.
minutes later he got a call from the hospital telling him the
ambulance attendants were waiting for him and needed to be paid.
They gave him directions again to the hospital. He glanced at
his watch and an hour had passed since they’d taken me away.
not see God’s hand of direction in his life at that moment.
In his despair it had never occurred to him to go to the hospital.
He packed our things, checked out of the motel and headed for
the hospital having made a decision; he’d sign insurance
papers so I would be taken care of and then drive over a cliff
and end his life.
very hour in San Diego his dad, with an overwhelming burden for
us, got down on his knees determined not to get up until he had
the victory. That “victory” came for him in San Diego
the same time that Chuck walked into the emergency room in Tulsa.
heard them say that my husband was there and I’d asked to
see him. When he came through the door I turned and saw his eyes
and they were the warmest and most loving eyes I’d ever
seen. Immediately I felt the stiffness leave my body from the
top of my head to my feet. He said my eyes were no longer angry;
they were the soft blue eyes he knew and loved.
around the room and, sure enough, I was in a trauma room. All
the objects I’d seen were real; I was hooked up to a heart
monitor and blood pressure cuff; they had taken blood from my
arm. All of it was real. But I still had a ways to go before I
would be completely recovered.
change in my condition they admitted me to the psychiatric ward
at St. Frances Hospital that evening. When they finally gave me
something for sleep, I slept for nearly 30 hours straight. Chuck
left the hospital that night knowing I was better but still not
normal. I was very frightened and nontrusting and my conversation
a bit strange at times.
into another hotel encouraged yet deeply troubled that something
was still wrong. Again he prayed but this time he sensed God’s
presence in the room and he said, “Lord, I know You’re
here and I want everything that You have for me.” And with
that a warmth hit him in the abdomen and spread both ways through
his body and he said he slept like a baby.
I was sleeping so he went to the Prayer Tower at ORU. Alone with
God in one of the prayer rooms, he sought the Lord for healing
for my mind and again the warmth spread through his body. Then
he prayed for our marriage and a third time the warmth spread
with sleep came healthier thinking. By Monday morning they released
me from the hospital so we could continue our trip and get back
Things changed in Chuck’s life that encouraged my heart.
I saw a new commitment to the Lord that was genuine and had nothing
to do with me. He had truly met the Master. There were some tough
times ahead of us. I didn’t recover in a few days or weeks,
and lots of things needed to change.
and his family wanted me to forgive and forget what happened as
soon as possible, but I couldn’t seem to do that. I’d
earnestly put into practice what I’d learned about forgiveness,
but I kept wondering, If I’ve forgiven Chuck, why does it
still hurt so badly?
one night a reference given in Luke 4:18 reminded me that Jesus
came to heal the brokenhearted. A further reference to the Amplified
Bible’s rendition was that Jesus came “… to
send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden,
bruised, crushed and broken down by calamity].”
crushed and broken down by calamity seemed to describe exactly
how I felt as I lay in bed late one night with tears streaming
down my cheeks. I asked the Lord what it was that I was doing
wrong. About a month had passed. Someone had reminded me yet again
that Chuck was forgiven and I needed to put it behind me and not
let it bother me anymore. It seemed that I had experienced the
deepest wounds in this situation, yet I was required to do the
most work in repairing the brokenness.
image suddenly began to form in my mind. I saw Chuck and myself
as represented by two broken hearts in need of repair: one broken
by sin in need of forgiveness and one broken by grief in need
of healing. I saw a cross between the two broken hearts that once
again represented God’s love extended to us through Christ’s
sacrificial death. The message of the cross was twofold: forgiveness
that my need for healing was as great as Chuck’s need for
forgiveness. As two broken hearts, we needed to come together
and kneel at the foot of the cross. Because of Christ and through
the power of the Holy Spirit, we could freely share God’s
gifts of healing and forgiveness. We could become vessels for
the Holy Spirit to use to convey forgiveness and healing to each
other. I could share God’s forgiveness with Chuck, and he
could extend God’s healing to me as he stood by me while
the hurt healed.
out of bed and drew the picture that was in my mind. There was
hope for me, too, at the foot of the cross. I wanted to share
divine forgiveness with Chuck, and he was willing to stand by
me while the hurt healed.
weeks that followed, Chuck and I talked. He would hug me and let
me cry. Even though our conversations got a bit strained at times,
we would stay with it until things resolved.
were times in the beginning that I struggled to trust, but I discovered
something that helped a great deal. I had hoped that Chuck loved
me enough before this happened to be faithful, and that trust
was broken. But I saw changes in Chuck’s life; I saw a commitment
to the Lord that had not existed before; I saw tenderness in his
eyes and tears of appreciation for what the Lord had done for
us. And one day I realized I trusted my husband because he loved
the Lord enough to do the right thing.
repentance opened the door for healing in our marriage. Had Christ
not asked me to do the impossible I would never have grasped the
price that He paid that I might be set free from unnecessary burdens
that I carried.
His great love looked down in my hour of need and saw everything
from His perspective. In tender compassion He also looked down
and saw everything through my own eyes of pain. With great love
and wisdom He reached down and met me right where I was. No demands.
No clichés. No heavy dogma. God simply opened my prison
doors and set me free.
and Lori Buck live in El Cajon, Calif., and attend Faith Chapel
(Assemblies of God) in Spring Valley, Calif., where Gary Jones
is pastor. Chuck Buck is the chairman of the board of Buck Knives,
your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.