By Patty Juliuson
It’s Friday, October 19, 2012, and we’re somewhere in eastern Tennessee/western Virginia. I’m riding in the back of a van loaded with luggage and family, and we’re headed to a wedding. Weddings are nice, but this one is special. On Saturday, our darling daughter is getting married.
From all over the country, kinfolk are gathering in Middleburg, Virginia, for a sacred ceremony that affirms our deepest beliefs: love, commitment, family, life. Her daddy will don his military dress uniform to walk her down the aisle, and I will step before the assembly to read a Psalm that is especially significant; it was the passage read when I married her father. “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
This wedding day brings extraordinary joy to my heart. For many years, our girl struggled against her family, God, and society in general. She went through a long period of substance abuse and self-damaging behavior before making a final, serious suicide attempt in 2008. [Editor’s note- the author’s daughter gave the author her permission to include this information.]
I won’t detail the events that led to her decision; she wrote several very straightforward articles about it for her blog. www.jolieodell.com\blog Though the day she tried to end her life is a pivotal point, I mention it not as a focus but as a vivid contrast to where she is now.
We anguished through her bad decisions for many years, but now we delight in our smart, funny little sprite, celebrate her joy, and look forward to what lies ahead. There’s no guarantee it will all be happy, but we are assured she will square her shoulders, take life as it comes, and look to the Lord for wisdom, comfort, and strength.
And she’s got a great guy. He’s intelligent, diligent, with a dry sense of humor. They complement each other so well. He’s a rail fence, clean, strong and straight, and she’s the vine that hugs the posts and tumbles clusters of sweet flowers over the bars. They view love and marriage as a commitment rather than a response to a feeling, and they’re in it to last. They’re both hard workers, but want a quality family life, too. Faith has been an essential aspect of their relationship from the beginning.
I know that divorce rates are sky-high, and no marriage is immune, but don’t quote me statistics. Today, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and everything is possible. The girl that was lost to us for such a long time is beginning a new, blessed period in her life, and we get to witness this miracle. There’s more than enough joy to go around.
I hope every one of you is granted a day like today. See you in class.