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?


Catherine said...

I used to read Erika Haub's blog, and I prayed for you before I ever knew your names or any details. I live on the opposite coast and was so pleased to discover that you had created this blog because then I knew better what to ask for you. I check on you almost every day, and you can be sure that I have the December dates on my calendar and will be lifting you up with especial vigor on those particular days.

You write so beautifully and, while I wish -- how I wish -- I could take this cup from you, I so appreciate the gift of your insight. What a legacy you are weaving for your family even now.

Lovelyn said...

Even in the grieving, the aching, the missing of Midi and Nathan, I trust God is doing a good (though painful) work in making you into the man He wants you to be.

You speak of Midi being an instrument to mold you into a better person. She's still doing that even though she's not physically present here. It seems like the memory of her grace and character still speaks to you strongly now.

Rachel Mc said...

Without a doubt Midi is so very very proud of you and is watching over you.

Catherine said...

I am still praying that this coming time will be more of a blessing for you than you fear. I have thought to wonder whether you have read Henri Nouwen's Can You Drink the Cup? I read this book again and again, when preparing for something I know will be hard.

Anonymous said...

You have been in my thoughts and prayers and will be more particularly on the 1st and 6th. I believe that your strength and courage will get you through two of the most difficult days you will be facing. I believe this because your sharing and your speaking from the heart are proof of your courage and strength. Continue to write as you have; I know it will help you throughout all the days to come. Your writings are a source of strength for all who read them; your eloquence is moving. May God provide you with what you need.

Catherine said...

As promised, I am passing this day with you, asking God to lighten your burdens, carry you through in His arms, and plant some unexpected blessing you will remember always as a sign of His grace. And I will continue praying through the 6th. Love to all of you.

Anonymous said...

dearest Mark, we are thinking of you and Lucas and sending an extra special prayer of comfort for you both in these next few days and weeks to come. Every moment is so precious...our hearts are with you!

Anonymous said...

“When the sun shines, the ducks go out for a nice long swim.”

Oh Mr. Mikasa,

I have spent the last two hours reading this journal(I'm not done!) when I should be studying for my chapter 6 test! oh boy.

I noticed how the feelings you express come from the first impulse of writing this. It's amazing; how you were able to put the feelings you've had into perfect simple words that anyone can picture.

Your basically the perfect teacher, or person actually. You don't have the feeling of the "What If's" and the curiosity of an evil genius. If you do, I'm sure they're gone.

You know, you sorta remind me of Gandhi. It may sound weird but we're watching that for w. history! Like Gandhi, you suffered many losses but didn't expect pity from the world. Rather, you show your tragedies (which truly show your moral character) in an unbiased view to everyone. It is so easy to blame whom you despise but so hard to blame no one.

The dreams you have (or use to) are the ones I still have. Hopefully we all get what we want but it'll be a challenge. Come to think of it, you and I sort of think alike. My uncle told me the other day:

"You know, I don't to grow up to see my mom pick up after my kids. Rather, my kids should pick up after my mom. Hopefully, when the day arrives, I want my grandchildren to pick up after me while my children go to work. I want to live in peaceful house with a part of my life revisiting every weekend having a nicely lit dinner while the rain gently pours over our house."

That's the future I want and it's still a future we can both achieve, but you might achieve yours faster because of the age difference.

I love how you can express yourself so openly. It shows how open you are to anyone, and that they'll feel secure talking to you. Whether it may be thinking of a new word that sounds good or sharing your hot chocolate with us, I greatly appreciate your humanity.

Your the first teacher I have when I start school actually, and things are going good. I just need to wake up a teeny bit earlier. There was this saying "A good encounter will guide your day through the bad encounters". Actually I made that up but it still works right?

Just to let ya know, I too have a loss. It's a loss that prevented me from having a normal life, but it taught me to be different. Different is good, in a way. When you are different, well I made this theory up.

Theory: People who suffered a loss that affected us entirely, tend to change. When things change, you change. The things that you thought weren't possible, were possible. It creates a new limit for us. It also creates a broader range of understanding tragedy. What we feel is very different from what other people feel. The main point is, when a person who never had a tragedy in their life tells a joke (ex: yo mamma, yo daddie, yo bald headed granny), they often think "oh, its a joke. It's not a big deal." In contrast, a person who lost one of their parents would never joke like that. Rather, they'll take it with even more seriousness than they take it if its about them.

I don't know if it sounds good, but I'm glad I'm different. Things that linger in your mind will fade away if you allow yourself to be free from it. It can go both ways, but it's best to feel, free.

Your inspirational, Mr. Mikasa.

p.s. I don't think I'm done but its 1 o clock and I GOTTA DO GOOD ON THAT TEST!


Anonymous said...

Mark, this is Christmas Eve, and I am writing to let you know that I am passing these hours with you and your family written on my heart. It has been almost a year since I first stood at my kitchen sink interceding for one whose name I did not know (after a brief mention on Erika's blog).

I am still with you in spirit, asking Him please to make this time as easy on you as He possibly can ... to let me suffer a spirit of heaviness for you, if I possibly can. That same prayer was prayed once in my family history, by my dear grandmother, and she witnessed an answer dramatic enough to make me know the request is acceptable in His sight, however He chooses to answer us this time. Grace and peace.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mark, we sit together with a prayer for grace in these next days for you and Lucas...I hope you will find the beauty of eachother each day and especially on the 1st. My heart holds you two in a BIG hug!

Eilers said...

Hi Mark - Just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you - remembering you and Lucas, and honoring Midi and Nathan in our hearts. Love to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mark,
You have continuously been and will continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of many. You, Lucas, Midi and Nathan are always in our hearts. On the 1st, we will offer special prayers for you and your entire family, hoping for strength to help you through the difficult days.
Much love...

Catherine said...

Still keeping watch, praying that you will be carried through tomorrow on eagle's wings and all the days thereafter too. I'm asking for your memory bank to be swept clean of everything except the sweetness that makes for peace.

Lisa said...

Dear Mark,
Though we do not know each other, I've followed your story since the tragic news a year ago. I admire your strength and wisdom, and will continue to pray for you and Lucas.

Anonymous said...

It looks like I'm not the only one thinking of you as this anniversary hits. Know many are praying for you today especially. May the Lord comfort and bless you and Lucas in some really special ways today and this whole year.
Shan from BCF days

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that we have been praying for you during this season. Our hearts are with you.


Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Mikasa,

Its been a while since we had any sort of contact. Never have i forgotten though of you or your family. I am glad to hear and read how beautiful you express yourself of Midi. She is a orchid that is still blooming on a cold winter night. I am also please to hear that there is some healing in your heart. Never forget that God can heal all pain.

Atziri Camarena

Rachel Mc said...

Hello! Just wanted you to know people still do check your blog, wonder about you, worry about you and pray for you.
Please write when you can, knowing that writing is your gift to yourself, how to express yourself, process all that is around you, and one day share this blog with your son. (maybe compile it in a book, with some extra entries for him alone)

Catherine said...

I understand if you don't feel like writing. Just know I'm still praying for you and checking on you too.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Mc and Catherine wrote my very thoughts. You and your entire family remain in the thoughts and prayers of many.

Anonymous said...

I'm still here, praying for you all day by day. I have recently learned that my mother is dying of cancer, and that has made me feel closer to your family somehow. We're all in this together.

Catherine said...

Happy Resurrection Day, Mark and Lucas. I've been thinking about both of you today and hoping it has been a good day.

Anonymous said...

I miss reading your new posts because I'm no longer at Gab and cannot watch you and make sure you're okay. I prayed on Christmas, I prayed on New Years, I prayed whenever my heart felt broken for your family. I will continue to pray because you have completely changed my life since those days freshman year until now. You inspire me so much and I really miss being in your presence. If greatness could be spread through contact, you've made me an infinitely better person than I was before.

I love you, I'm praying for you, please write soon because I miss you.