Thoughts from my husband:
This morning I read the song our friend Clint wrote for Mark Stratton’s funeral, and a touching blog from Jason Pelt about the drive to Arlington National Cemetery where he was laid to rest. I immediately resolved to not let the day pass without a much needed catch-up phone call with Pelt. He reminded me of a picture of Mark and I he had posted on his blog from our camping trip two years ago so I looked it up and found it. When I saw it I thought, he was probably eating venison. While all of us usually showed up with a slab of beef that we bagged at the local grocery, Mark arrived with meat he had hunted down in the woods like a real man some morning while the rest of us were sleeping. Mark was a man’s man, and by that I mean he was the kind of guy that other men cannot help but love and respect. He stood for things with conviction. What many other people would consider going above and beyond, he considered a duty. He also had a noticeable tenderness with his family and held them with great affection. He lived and died as a servant and through his life he enriched those around him in a way that does not go unnoticed when it is gone. In essence, Mark walked the path of a Christian gentlemen and found his place in the call of God to follow Jesus into our families, our vocation, our friendships, our joys, into broken places where we can breathe life and hope. May he now find his rest in the joy of the Lord.