“I have to move on. I need to get back on track and keep myself busy.” I was having a conversation with myself when my mother came in the room. “Marina, would you be up for working in the summer camp this year? They are looking for serious applicants at the school I work at. Since you have not found a job yet, I think it would be a good opportunity. What do you think?” she asked. Even though, it was a temporary job and only for eight weeks, I thought it was my chance not only to get Mark out of my head, but also to get myself out of the house. I felt that this job offer was the straw I had to latch on to.
Everything was new to me in the first week. Switching from a professional, private sector to an educational, fun setting was challenging. However, dealing with kids was something I was used to since I served the same age in Sunday School at my church. One day, while I was welcoming the kids into class, one of the parents approached me. “Marina! Hi. What are you doing here? Are you working for the school now?” he wondered. “Oh, hi Abram. No, no. it is temporary. I quit my job so I am only here for the summer camp,” I responded. “So, after the camp is over, will you be job haunting?” Abram questioned. “Yes, certainly,” I said. “I see. Listen, why don’t you send me your resume? I might be able to get you a job where I work. The company always hires people around this time of the year. Maybe meeting you today was not a coincidence.”
Abram’s offer was very pleasing to my ears. The very next day, I edited my resume and sent it to him. A couple of days later, I received a phone call from the human resources manager offering me an interview. I was offered the job a week later. Now finally, everything started to fall into place. Because of my new job, I was able to get a new car instead of the one that recently got totaled in a bad car accident. Getting a paycheck every two weeks has been a blessing that I have not ceased to be grateful for until today. The restoration was not only work related, but also relationships wise. During the same time, I joined a small bible study group along with eight beautiful inside-out, faithful young women. I bonded immediately with many of them. I made new, genuine friendships. My heart was overwhelmed by God’s renewal. I was finally able to see healing after so much brokenness. Everything I thought God had taken away from me, was given back four-folds. I was able to see God’s work clearly. I then believed that; “God doesn’t take our gold to give us silver but rather diamond.”
My life had started to become steady for two whole years. It was quite simple, yet very satisfying. I became grateful for everything. I was thankful for the stress-free job, the new friends, the bigger home, the growing service, and even the brand- new car. I got to appreciate the smallest things in life that I used to take for granted. I learned how to enjoy every single moment I got to spend in health, peace, and love. Speaking of love, it was the only area left unfulfilled. Since Mark’s incident had taken place, the thought of relationships was traumatizing to me. At that time, I directed my focus to one thing; education. I wanted to pursue a Masters degree in Journalism. While education was my top priority, relationships were the last thing on my list. In addition, Mark’s disappearance for all this time was a helping factor to moving on. I had not seen him since the last encounter we had, two years ago-then. I didn’t know if he stopped coming to church altogether or if I just hadn’t run into him all these years. I didn’t really seem to care anyway. Everything was going fine and I was content.
One Sunday, I was at church attending the weekly service as usual. As soon as the service was concluded, I grabbed my stuff and headed towards the back door to exit the church. Once I stepped outside, I noticed a familiar face standing with some other people in the parking lot. I rubbed my eyes twice trying to make sure that what I just saw was not who I thought it was. I took two steps forward, looked closely while putting my hand on my fast beating chest and said; “Darn! It’s him!” This was the first time to see Mark in two years. In the meantime, I had a brain-freeze. I didn’t know if I was supposed to approach him to say hi, or if I had to run away and hide so he didn’t get to see me. I stood still for a few moments as I lost my ability to thinking as well as moving. While I was trying to make a decision, Mark had already seen me. It was too late to make a move now. Hesitantly, we approached one another. “Hi Marina, how are you?” he initiated. “Hi, Mark. Long time no see. How have you been?” I asked with a shaking voice. “I know. It’s been two years to be exact. Everything is great, thank you,” he claimed. “Yes, two years indeed. Well, I am glad you are doing great.” As much as I wanted to spend more time with him, I felt so awkward and sensed the urgency of leaving. “I am running late for my Sunday school class. I have to go. It was good seeing you.” I left and a large piece of me wanted to stay longer. I wanted to ask him many questions. I wanted to know what he had been up to, where he was all this time, if he still felt something or if he was seeing someone already. I was so confused by my conflicting thoughts and emotions. I thought for a while that he was completely out of the picture for good. I thought that not seeing him for two years was enough time to close his chapter entirely. I was so mad at myself.
On my way to class, I started to pray that all these rushing thoughts and concerns were only resulting from the sudden encounter I just had with him and that no feelings were involved. I tried to convince myself that I might not see him again and that he was probably visiting and not planning to come back.
I went to my class, shook it off and proceeded with the lesson for the day. The kids were hyper as usual and consumed all of my energy. This worked as a temporary relief from “the Mark thought.” After class, I had a servants’ meeting to attend. I was running late to the meeting as I had to take care of some stuff related to classroom management. I wrapped up, headed to the room where the meeting was held. I opened the door slowly as they already had started praying before the meeting. I entered the room with my eyes facing the floor. I found myself a spot at the back of the room. I closed my eyes while everybody else was praying. As the group prayer ended, the service coordinator asked if a couple of servants might conclude with individual prayers. While my eyes were still closed, trying to dive into praise and worship, I heard a distinguished voice praying in the room. Immediately, I opened my eyes widely to see who that person was.
“O.M.G! What is Mark doing here?”
To be continued…..