Here's what I promised in my earlier post today. It's kinda long but I hope you take the time to read all the way through. I hope it touches your heart the same way it did mine!
Chris (Erin's dad)
Eulogy for Erin from a Total Stranger (well sorta) by Debbie Koch, Vincennes, Indiana
It is doubtful that the name Erin Michelle Page would have meant anything to me had my son not attended Higher Ground Baptist Church and shared his Sunday school class with Kimberly and Brian Malone. But, on Saturday February 16th, as our family gathered together in Spring Hill, TN to celebrate the 1st birthday of our first grandchild, son David told us of a young girl named Erin who was stricken ill suddenly in Kingsport, TN. David received a phone message from his Sunday school teacher, Shea Payne, who stated that the doctors said Erin's organs were starting to shut down, and they had done all they could for her. It was out of their hands.
Thus began our Prayer vigil. Over the next three weeks I learned alot about this lovely young stranger named Erin. I learned she had a mom and stepdad named Kimberly and Brian Malone and a very eloquent father named Chris Page. Her sisters were Morgan and Briana. And there were others whose relationship to Erin were unclear: Doris and Tammy. It did not matter. We prayed for them all---Erin's family, friends, and the staff at Vanderbilt's Children Hospital.
I learned that Erin was a 14 year old cheerleader at Robinson Middle School, that she loved care bears, Hello Kitty, and giraffes. And I learned that Erin was a fighter with the heart of a lion, and that she had a truckload of friends---some she never even knew--until now.
And I learned something about the rest of us. I learned that East Tennessee had "Pray for Erin" lighting it's highway signs in certain locales. I learned that people from all over the world were lifting up Erin and her family in prayer, and even from such exotic places as Ontario Canada, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Illinois, and Vincennes, Indiana, where Erin was placed on the prayer list at Indiana Presbyterian Church. God has no boundaries---political or otherwise. We are all in one accord.
We prayed for a miracle, and each new day was a miracle. Erin squeezed a hand. Erin smiled at Chris. Erin's big blue eyes followed family members around the room. Erin's oxygen level was elevated. Erin's bleeding had slowed. And on the days when the news was discouraging, It only brought us even closer to Jesus. And that was a miracle, too.
Erin was instructing us to lean on the Lord and not on our own understanding. Erin was showing us that love transcends this world we know and see. Erin was reminding us that each life and each moment of life is a precious gift. Erin was admonishing us to put aside our trivial pursuits and petty differences and focus on those things that truly matter. Erin was teaching us to fight the good fight and finish the race. And, victoriously, Erin was leading the way Home---not the one in East Tennessee---but our Heavenly Home. And she did all of this without saying a word. She did all this by simply being.
The third verse of one of my favorite hymns, "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need", based on the 23rd Psalm, Illustrates Erin's final journey: "The Sure Provisions of My God Attend Me All My Days; O may Your House be my Abode, and all my work be Praise. There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come; no more a stranger, or a guest, but like a child at home."
Yes, my little sister in Christ, Erin Michelle Page, is truly at Home and resting contentedly, safe in the arms of Jesus. She has joined that cloud of witnesses that watches from on high and urges us on in the race of life. Someday, when our journey ends, we will join her there---no more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at Home.