Sunday, October 20, 2013

She had no idea...

She was taken to the doctor to get a few stitches in the back of her head when she was about 10 years old. A boy had thrown a rock at her head during recess. Because of her insanely high pain tolerance, she had no idea that anything was even wrong. She just walked around the playground, dripping blood, without a care in the world.

My sister struggled to "connect" with the world. She had autism and mental retardation. She did not say her first words until she was 5 years old. She was known for looking up to the sky while singing a song to herself. She was known for memorizing things. Entire movies she had seen once. People's names that she had met only once.

We shared a bedroom our entire childhood and teenage life. As a young child, I did not know any different. My sister was sister. That's the way it was and she never bothered me.

In my teen years, as I started to think more in depth about the things of life, I began to feel sad for her. I would think, "She has no idea what she is missing out on by not being able to connect with this world." I thought about how she didn't have real friends like I had, or how she would never marry and have kids like I would, or how she would never get her license and drive like I would. And it just blew my mind that she had NO idea that she was missing out on any of that. No idea... Because she was in Erin world. A world that so many people that loved her tried to break into.

I always wondered what life would be like for her as an adult. And again would feel sad thinking about her future compared to what mine would probably be.

Little did I know that she would touch more lives than I ever would. Its funny how God gives such purpose to the most unlikely people. She had no idea that God was using her all along, nor did she even fully comprehend who God was, but he sure was using her.

The day that she passed away was devastating and weirdly peaceful at the same time. Peaceful because I knew she was with the one who made her exactly the way He wanted her. It all made sense and came to closure for me. I did not need to feel sad for her for what she was missing out on or what her future would hold. For she lived a life of purpose. Maybe not intentionally...but it was purposeful. I now know that God's purpose for our life far outweighs the drivers licenses, friends, husbands and kids that I wished Erin could have.

I am blessed to have grown up with that girl. Sure, hearing a song at 2am or fighting for the shower because she took 15 showers a day drove me crazy, but I have been given a new perspective. A perspective that comes from God through people like Erin about what is important in life. And what is important is Jesus Christ.

My former youth minister and dear friend, Donovan, spoke at her funeral and said something that I will never forget. He said, "Erin's life is an interesting thing. She has unknowingly taught people so much about God's character that in the end, she fades away, we fade away, and all that is left is God." Nothing more honorable can be said of someone than that. I pray that my life will do the same.