I’ve been through a lot and I shouldn’t have to tell people my story in order for them to just take me as I am.
26 >>> IN THE LIGHT_May/June 12
entering his last year of high school motherless. He’d often ask me, “Why do bad things happen to good people, Ashley?” At the time, I wasn’t too sure why and didn’t have an answer besides “everything will work out.” I was at a loss for words. It was a question many, I included, had sought an answer to. Mark turned to God to find healing. Gradually his spirit became uplifted and because of it, mine did also. I smile thinking of times when his faith in God was so strong, he would minister to me. We could have been talking about a TV show and somehow, someway, he turned it into a spiritual lesson. The characteristic I loved most about Mark though was his nonjudgmental, kind and caring attitude. Despite all I had, he never judged me. He allowed me to be entitled to a bad day with-
out slapping everything in my face about how ungrateful I was, like most people did to me. Instead, he taught me how to appreciate what I took for granted; a lesson few had tried to teach me. Senior year arrived for Mark and all he could talk about was graduating, but not for the sake of graduating and leaving high school as most seniors wanted. Mark had a plan. He couldn’t wait to move on to the next stage in life. He was ready, and for him life after high school meant joining the United States Military. All this time he was here. A great friend, a good person who inspired many and it took him to enlist for me to acknowledge I was losing someone special. I was upset. Not with Mark, I supported all his endeavors, but how could I have let time and life get in the way of valuing someone as unique
as he? And so, Mark graduated high school successfully and as I embarked a new journey to college, he took a flight to the boot camp. The day of his departure he called me saying he appreciated our friendship and thanked me for supporting him. It was just Mark being Mark. Always grateful for what he had, taking nothing for granted, being appreciative for all the hidden details of life. I knew it would be months before I would speak to him again. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I ever would. My prayers for him were longer and I kept asking God for the same thing: to grant him protection, love and happiness. I prayed that same prayer so much I’m surprised God didn’t yell back saying, “I’M NOT DEAF!” Eventually, the following year I did hear from him. He was happy, safe, and
In the Light Magazine second issue focuses on embracing who you are in Christ.