While Mark and I were engaged to be married we participated in pre-marital counseling through our church. Essentially we met once a week with Pastor Jeff and Monica along with four other couples. There was a curriculum we followed, and then we would discuss as a group. The couples often joked that coming to counseling meant that you either fought on your way there, or fought on your way home. I guess it was designed to drudge up a little bit of conflict before you actually tied the knot.
I distinctly remember one of our sessions, it wouldn't have been too long before we got married. The two of us stood in Pastor Jeff and Monica's kitchen and "discussed" how Mark tended to more or less run from our relationships when it got hard. Now I don't mean that he literally left and never planned to return, but we did almost break up in Cub Foods over whether or not the person bringing the dressing to Thanksgiving is also required to bring the cranberry sauce, so lets just say we had our issues. I remember saying to Mark that I don't know why he always tries to hurt me before I hurt him, or leave me before I leave him. I think Pastor Jeff brought up that Mark had some abandonment issues and he still was working through them. I tried to reassure Mark that I wasn't going anywhere, and he said "Everyone that ever loved me left me!" I asked him who all had left him. He named off a few, one of which was his mom. I quickly replied "Mark, your mom didn't leave you, she died. You can't blame her for that." He simply said "yes, she died, but it feels the same either way." Monica was quick to correct me by saying that I can't tell Mark how or how not to feel. I never understood what Mark meant when he said that his mom dying felt the same as her abandoning him, until the day he died.
The same day he died, I told my mom "he promised not to leave me, he broke his promise." She only replied "No Megan, he fulfilled his promise, until death do you part." Still I sobbed day and night with the idea that Mark had left me. I was sad, angry, and jealous. Jealous that I am left here "suffering" while he is in heaven where there is no more pain or suffering. For days I had dreams where Mark chose to leave me. Dreams where we were separated, barely speaking, and he chose to be far from me. Dreams where he moved out of our house and back in Serenity Village. Then when I thought that even if he didn't choose to leave me, I hoped he missed me. It was so hard to imagine that I yearn so deeply for him, and to just imagine that all of his needs are fulfilled in heaven by God.
To follow Christ and to be human is such a hard combination. All of my human understanding screams at me that Mark must miss me too, that he must desire to be here on earth with me. But if the roles were reversed, would I choose a life on earth over eternity in heaven? I have to believe it wouldn't even be a contest. I live my every moment with the great expectation that either my Savior will return to earth to take me home, or that when I die God Himself will escort me through the gates. My human flesh yearns for my husband, but my soul was created to fit with God. When Mark entered heaven his every desire and need was met in the presence of Christ. I try my best to think of that, to think of his tremendous smile spread all the way across his face, to think of my Mark with all of the joy but none of the pain. My husband was, sorry still is, incredible. He went through unimaginable pain and trauma but our good God transformed his life on earth, that transformation pales in comparison to what was realized in heaven. I know this , and still I hurt, still I yearn, still I beg God to give my husband back to me. I listen to Hezekiah play with his dinosaurs and I know he struggles with the same questions as the little dinosaur yells at the larger one "No Daddy! I am mad at you! You left me alone!" I pray that God will fulfill our every need. I also trust that He will. Everyday I have the opportunity to practice 2 Corinthians 10:5 which says "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." I have to examine the thoughts in my mind and set them up against the truth of God.
For some reason this is the memory that kept striking me today. Such a short moment in time, but now I know so important. There are so many things about Mark I didn't understand before his death. Somehow God is still allowing me to learn more about Mark despite his absence from earth.