Random Blog Clay Feet: April 16, 2008
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Julie's Memorial

We recently returned from our trip to the memorial service for our adopted daughter Julie. As expected it was a time of both sadness and frustration and mixed feelings. When I first stepped inside the church I was unnerved by suddenly seeing someone who looked startlingly like Julie standing there in the hallway. I knew she must be related very closely and after introductions found out that it was her sister that I had never seen. Throughout the rest of our time there I observed how many things they had in common, especially her mannerisms and facial expressions. As I said, it was a bit unnerving for me but I also had to accept the fact that the internal connections were completely missing and there was no heart recognition between us like something deep inside me is missing.

Its funny how our heart works like that. I know of times when I will see a complete stranger that looks so compellingly like someone I have known that something inside of me demands that there must be an internal connection here because they externally fit the description so well. But despite all the awkward introductions and fishing for information that one may potentially do with this person there is always that complete void at the heart level because this person is simply not the same person that we knew with our heart and have spent time connecting with in the past.

I guess these are times of reminder of how God views people – at the heart level and not through external appearances. To God none of us look confusingly similar to each other that might be misleading or confusing. The important thing for us to remember is to keep in such close touch with God in our own hearts that He can share His view of others with our heart so we can see them more as He sees them which may often contradict the external messages we are perceiving with our other senses.

Her sister wrote the very touching poem that was displayed on the picture board in the hallway outside. During the service they showed a slide presentation of pictures from her life growing up at home. We did not have time to add our own more recent pictures to the presentation and I don't know if they would have wanted to use them or not. I posted a few of them in my recent tribute to her on this blog.

The service itself seemed rather generic and sometimes disturbing for reasons I will not here relay. We did meet a couple friends of Julie who came from near Detroit where she was staying when she died. One of them was an EMT that had helped her a number of times and had evidently come to know her well. It was not unusual for emergency officials to get to know Julie rather well due to the repeated nature of her emergencies wherever she was living. I know in the past that she shared with us how police and firemen out in Arizona had learned to look out for her due to the nature of her liabilities and health problems. She was such a sweet girl that no one who ever met her could avoid responding to her positively and like her almost immediately.

Only one of our other daughters traveled with us to the service. For various reasons the others were unwilling to go but we spent a little time visiting with them during part of our trip. I suppose one reason we felt compelled to attend this service so far away from our home was to try to bring closure to this tragedy for ourselves. For me it did not provide as much of that as I had hoped, but I am glad that we attended and met her family and others who knew her. Her real mother gave us a disc with many of her early pictures on it that we were very glad to receive and we gave her family a disc with our pictures of Julie on it for them. After the service we joined in a meal put on by the church and then left without really connecting very much with anyone.

One surprise in this time of grief has been the sympathy and kind words that I have received from a number of men in the Barbershop chorus that I have been singing with for a few months. The kindness and expressions they have shared with us on various occasions and the card they sent us were very unexpected and meaningful. I am not used to this level of kindness from people I don't yet know very well and it deepens my appreciation for their kindness, thoughtfulness and the unselfishness they have in the bonds of friendship they share in this group.

There are many unanswered questions about this situation and many unresolved emotions on the part of various people that will affect our lives for much time ahead. I keep praying to see each person through heaven's perspective and not allow my fears or emotions to too strongly color my perceptions and relationships with others. God sees things very differently than we see them and His viewpoint is the only real valid one. The closer I align with His clear knowledge and feelings about us the more peace I can experience.

I don't really know what more to say about this situation other than to echo the sentiments expressed by her sister. We will miss Julie very painfully and we trust God to return Julie into our lives when the great reunion is consummated at the resurrection. The real issue still remains for those of us left behind by her untimely death. I am praying for each of my own children and for Julie's biological family as well that God will soften and open all of our hearts and reveal the deep roots of pain and resistance and fear that can prevent us from all being together in His love. I want my own heart to be healed and I also want all of those involved in this tragedy to find full healing, repentance, reconciliation and salvation in the revelation of the real truth about God's passion and love for each of us.

Maranatha, even so come Lord Jesus.