Saturday, November 8, 2008

Only One

It has been over 10 months since Midi and Nathan died. During that time, I think I've felt the sting of not having Nathan more frequently than the sting of not having Midi. This has more to do with the fact that as I continue to be Lucas' father, I miss Nathan so much. I miss being his dad, too. I experience this particular kind of bittersweetness of life everyday, many times a day. In a few weeks, I am going to have to face this in the most intense way. I anticipate that the days when Lucas turns five on December 1st (and Nathan does not) and when we celebrate on December 6th will be the hardest, most bittersweet days. Pray for me, Midi's parents, and my parents. I don't know how we are going to make it through those days.

But lately, I've really been missing Midi and my mourning has focused on her. It would have been her 35th birthday this past October 29th. There was only one Midi. There was only one who I loved for all of those years. There was only one whose love I desired and pursued. There was only one who I wanted to marry, be family with, raise children with. There was only one who I dreamed of living with the rest of my life, going on walks with until the day when one of us couldn't walk anymore. There was only one whose walk with God I cared about more than my own, who I wanted to see grow and flourish, who I wanted to see bless others with her gifts. There was only one Midi.

There are so many wonderful qualities that Midi had. What has come into focus for me the past couple of weeks though is what a strong woman she was. But not strong in the traditional or cultural sense. She was strong because she was secure. She never felt the need to convince others that she was right and they were wrong. Our culture has a way of telling women that they need to be everything and do everything. They need to be pure. If not, then they are deemed a "slut", whereas a man is deemed a "player". They need to be attractive by hollywood standards. They need to be independent, strong, family-first, successful, take care of their flawed husband. So much pressure. And that pressure causes so many problems if a woman doesn't know who she is. Midi knew who she was.

She was a safe place for everyone. There was nothing about a person that could keep her from loving them. She wouldn't allow any barrier to block someone out of her life. They could be black/white/brown/yellow, rich/poor, gay/straight, truthful/deceitful, Christian/non-Christian, liberal/conservative, male/female, old/young, smart/dumb, careful/reckless, broken/healed. And everyone knew that about her. She definitely sought to understand more than to be understood.

Back when Midi and I got together (2000), if you had asked those who knew us both (mostly from our UCLA days) about who was the more accomplished spiritual leader or whose faith was stronger, I think 10 out of 10 would have said Midi. I would have been one of those 10, for sure! But there was something about me that Midi saw that I'm not sure others did. And I think that this is more a reflection of who she was than who I was. She trusted me. From day one, she trusted me. Or maybe more accurately, she trusted God. Though I was a work in progress (still am...we all are) she saw the finished picture - and she liked it. She was able to do so, I think, because she was so secure. She was secure as child of God. But she was also secure as a woman. She was secure enough to put herself in the vulnerable position of trusting me to lead us and to do good for her. She didn't have a problem receiving my love. She never felt the need to fight for herself with me. She never felt that she would lose herself with me. She trusted that I heard her, listened to her, valued her, and desired only good for her. And so she was able to jump in with both feet and swim in my love for her.

Not everyone can do this.

But she also knew her value to me. She knew that a guy who saw the world in black and white could use the perspective of one who was comfortable in the grays. She knew that a guy who leaned so heavily towards the truth/justice side of the "Truth/Justice to Love/Grace" scale could really benefit from one who embraced the love/grace side. She knew that our children would receive the best of both worlds from us, partnering together. She knew that by trusting me and trusting that my love for her was unconditional and unbreakable, she was empowering me all the more to love her and lead our family. She knew that she was good for me, and I for her.

I was blessed to be married to Midi for over 6.5 years. We did not have a perfect marriage, but ours was a healthy marriage, never in jeopardy for a second. I realize that one of the enduring gifts that God has given me through Midi is wisdom and perspective regarding marriage. Before my life with Midi, I could never have counseled a young couple about how to deal with conflict. Now I can. What is sad for me though is that while I can bless others from my experiences in marriage with Midi, I can no longer experience it myself. I only have memories left. Bittersweet. Thank you God for Midi. But why did you allow her to die?