This was submitted by the counselor that worked with Mark and I during what he loved to call "marriage class." We were there to learn from her and one another, but it sounds like she learned a thing or two from Mark as well. Thank you for your time with us!
First – I love that Megan is dedicating this month to provide an opportunity to reflect and share
Mark’s impact. We need to do this more so we may appreciate people when we have the
chance. Like Pastor Jeff always says, tell people who they are to you.
Mark has profoundly impacted my life in ways I never expected. Being that we all went
to the same church, I saw Mark and Megan around and knew they had close ties to SVCC. It
wasn’t until Pastor Jeff asked me if I would see Mark and Megan for therapy and I said yes that
Mark and I exchanged words for the first time. He stopped me after a church service and with a
humorous and lighthearted demeanor said something like, “You know those movies where the
couples dance all lovey dovey together? You think that is going to happen to me and Megan
because of therapy?” I laughed and replied, “If that is what you want, then absolutely!” He
smiled and we parted ways. I have to admit that part of me didn’t want to take them as clients
because I thought they were awesome people and selfishly wanted to be their friend, but I was
obedient. With therapy, there are boundaries of course. However, because of the unique (and
very uncommon) situation with being members of the same church and all, those boundaries
were a little blurred and a sort of a friendship bloomed in harmony with our work anyway.
I admired how Mark showed up to our first therapy session and was honest at the fact
that he absolutely did NOT want to be there. And most sessions he had a hard time coming but
admitted (once I think) that he was usually glad he did. His reasoning for not wanting to come
wasn’t because he didn’t want to invest in the relationship but rather, he was nervous it meant
they weren’t okay…which is a common fear/misconception. And maybe a little because he
thought he would be ganged up on! I will never forget an individual session we had early on,
where I got to learn some of his deeper fears. It was then I knew his love for Megan was so
deep and strong it terrified him at the thought of ever losing her. I felt honored that I earned his
trust, even though I knew I had some automatic credit because Pastor Jeff vouched for me!
Regardless, working with Mark and Megan was one of the most blessed journeys I have been
on alongside a couple. Mark would show up to therapy, even if it was on a more reluctant day,
and participate. He shared his mind and heart…and humor, too! We had serious and tense
times as well but through it all, he stayed engaged with the work and wanted to be the best he
could for Megan and his babies.
Mark was a sensitive man of strength. He taught me that stacked odds against you don’t
stop you. That if you never forget where you came from, you will always have a grateful heart
and remain humble. He taught me that humor is life-giving and a completely necessary part of
life, relationships, and therapy! I learned that responsibility is a big deal and something to step
up for and take pride in. That real men share their fears and feelings. One thing that Mark was
going to literally teach me was how to step, a form of dance. I was surprised to learn he did that
and touched how Megan’s eyes lit up when she told me that he was actually a really great
dancer. Personally, Mark made me a better human just by knowing him. I hope to carry a piece
of his lighthearted humor in my heart wherever I go. Professionally, he showed me that it is
more than possible to overcome these patterns of brokenness that keep us stuck in life and
relationships. He, as well as Megan and the love they shared, will always be a couple I talk
about with other clients (anonymously of course) to provide hope and strength.
And just like Megan wrote in her one of her blog posts, Mark (and Megan) continue to
teach me new things every time I am privileged to read Megan’s words or talk to her and hear
her heart. I miss Mark. I miss our sessions, his jokes, his voice, his smile, and his love for Megan,
his children, and chosen family. I will miss the opportunity to watch him and Megan dance all
lovey dovey like in the movies…but I am banking on seeing that in Heaven…as well as learning
how to step.