I haven't blogged in a while. I've been struggling with something. So, rather than continue to sulk in my own depression, I thought I'd share it with everyone. My hope is that it will help me and perhaps reach someone else who may be going through a similar struggle. Here goes ...
This past Friday, we celebrated the life of my husband's niece, Jorden Aryne Sopher. She went missing three years ago. In May of this year, her body was found in a wooded area, overgrown with vegetation. Jorden was a beautiful young woman. I had the honor of being her Aunt Aine for sixteen of her eighteen years. This honor was given to me on the day I met her and her siblings. I was a young sixteen at the time. I remember that each of my husband's nieces and nephews welcomed me with an immediate "Aunt Aine." At the time, Jerry and I were dating and nowhere near the age of being married. But, those children seemed to sense that I would someday be a part of their family.
Since that day, I think I've taken for granted that the children in my life accept me so openly. Over the years, there have been new faces added to the family. Each one of them following suit of the children before them. They love me unconditionally and without any expectations. I can walk into a family gathering and, even if I don't receive affection from the adults, I receive it from the children. There are always hugs and "love you's" from beautiful red head girls, sweet brown haired young ladies ...
Here is where my struggle begins. Have I returned that unconditional love? Have I accepted each child just as they are without any reservations?
I can answer that with a simple .... no.
And this is where my depression takes root.
There is no way to go back and give extra hugs to Jorden. The last one I gave her was a quick hello and goodbye in front of the local video store. My husband and I ran into her while we finished renting our movies and she was headed inside with a crew of children in tow. We asked the usual questions ... "you ok?" and "you'll call if you need anything?" ... a quick hug and goodbye. Her sweet smile.
What would I do if another child in my life was taken? Jorden's disappearance and death have made me stop and think. Think about my nieces and nephews. Think about my boys. Think about regrets, could haves and should haves. I regret that I didn't tell Jorden more often that I loved her. I could have called her, asked her to go out for lunch or to a movie. I should've sent her birthday cards, Christmas cards and told her she was extremely special ... just like her sisters and brother. Just like my other nieces and nephews. Just like my three sons.
On Friday, we attended a memorial service for Jorden. There was no casket, no ashes ... her body is still being tested to determine a cause of death. Her adoptive family created a beautiful memory disc. I watched as Jorden grew up in pictures. There was one particular picture that stood out to me ... Jorden at about 3 years old, wearing a little dress and stockings that were way too long for her short legs. She was holding a Barbie doll with unruly hair. Jorden's hair was a bit disheveled itself. Plastered across her small face was the sweetest smile. They played a song ... one that I love, "When God Ran." It tells the story of the prodigal son. And, how God loves us unconditionally. When I hear that song, I can almost see our heavenly Father standing at the end of a long road that is overgrown with dense trees, a fog hanging just over the treetops ... and the moment He sees one of His children at the other end of that road ... He runs to meet them.
I know that my faith will see me through this time of sadness. I know that God takes home those that have accomplished their purpose through Him.
Another thing that I know without a doubt. I will soak up every smile, laugh and "love you" that the children in my life give me. Only God knows the time that each of us will be called home. No sadness, depression or anxiety can add one day to our lives.
If there is a heavy burden weighing on your heart, if an incredible sadness seems to be hanging over you ... meet God at the end of the road. He's there waiting for you. Just as He waits for all His children. That's where I am tonight. At the end of that road and God is running to meet me and wash my sadness.