I loved seeing his writing because that's so personal, but I didn't really like the content of what I was reading. The things he chased after trying to make sense of life were so focused on self. I know this not just from those notes, but from other things I knew he turned to throughout his life before he turned to Jesus. It didn't make him any less lovable to me, but like so many people, he didn't have a spiritual compass. I asked him more than once why he put stock in some of the ideas he did instead of what the Bible had to say. He said it was because those ideas were "newer". I told him there was nothing new under the sun.
This week I've been thinking a lot about the choices he made and why he did the things he did, and I think he was just deceived by a bunch of lies about himself, life, and God. I'm glad he didn't come to the end of his life stuck in those lies, but I feel like I'm living with some of the consequences of those lies. Perhaps if we'd been married longer more of these things would have been resolved eventually, and I wouldn't have to deal with them as much as it feels like I do. It is so hard to be the one left behind.
For instance, in that same organizer I found several photographs of him and his ex-girlfriend. Now this wasn't an organizer that Michael was still using in the recent past. It had been around for a long time and nothing in it was current. I know he wasn't digging out those pictures and missing his life with her while he was married to me. Not at all. But if he hadn't been such a pack rat, perhaps he would have gone through his own things and gotten rid of those pictures to spare me the hurt of having to find them.
Several days before the memorial service, my best friend and I had gone through most of his pictures and we'd found a bunch of pictures with him and the ex. I was feeling magnanimous at the time, so we put them in a large envelope, and I gave it to my sister-in-law to pass on to her. But yesterday's discovery didn't make me feel magnanimous at all. Rather it was like a slap in the face. I quickly put those pictures in the trash.
I oftentimes feel a longing when I look at pictures of Michael that are from the time we met, up until he finally committed himself to me. I think about all the things we didn't get to do together, all the people in his life I didn't get to know sooner, and it just breaks my heart. He apologized several times about all this before he went home, but I didn't want to talk about it at the time. I didn't want him to feel bad about anything. I still wouldn't want him to feel bad, but I wish we could talk about it. I already know what he'd say because he said it to me many times in those last months:
I love you!
I married you!
You are the love of my life.
I just wish I could hear him say those things again because sometimes I still feel so insecure.
Once when we were discussing the past, and he was apologizing for the years he'd wasted in that other relationship, I asked him what had attracted him to her initially. I knew he'd stayed in the relationship after he met me out of obligation and guilt (not warranted, but nevertheless), but how had it started? He simply replied, "Sex." Then I asked him what had attracted him to me, and he said, "I just couldn't understand why you weren't married already." I know that's true because when he first started trying to get close to me, he asked me why I wasn't married. I was sort of flattered, but I didn't have an answer for him. I didn't know why I wasn't married.
Reflecting on that, I realized that whether he knew it or not, he was seeing things in me at that time that he would value in a wife. But he wasn't looking for a wife, and so he couldn't connect that question with the answer - I was meant to be his wife. That's why I wasn't already married to someone else.
One more thought. When I'm grappling with the part of our past where Michael remained in relationship with his ex-girlfriend, even though he knew he loved me and wanted to marry me and have a family with me, I feel anger towards her and I wish she had never existed in his life. But, if I'm honest with myself, my anger/hurt/grief should be directed at Michael. It was his choices that hurt me, and it was my choice to wait for him. I need to come to a point where I can forgive, and it's not the ex who needs forgiving. I need to forgive Michael, and that's really weird because I'm not angry with him. But, I guess I am in a way. I'm just not directing my anger in the right direction. Besides, it's easier to be angry with the living than with the dead.
I am really grateful that our relationship will be redeemed in eternity thanks to what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. In eternity neither of us will be hindered by choices we made in the past. We will have time eternal to spend together and we'll be incapable of saying or doing things to hurt each other. Praise God for that.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, or sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.