On Tuesday night, I walked the halls of an ICU for the first time in a couple of years. It was a different hospital, but the sights, the sounds, the smells and the somberness of the situation were the same. In the beeps and the attentiveness of one-on-one nursing, hope clung tight in spite of the raw thin battle line between life and death.
It stirred the deep places in me. My youngest daughter could sense it as my husband and I headed off to visit a friend this time, instead of my father-in-law. As we dashed off with no real dinner plans for anyone, the children asked, "How long do you think you will be gone?" We replied, "We don't know." My youngest daughter said, "Mommy...your emotions..." I didn't let her finish.
There were so many unknowns. We didn't know what we were eating for dinner; we didn't know if we'd be able to see her; we didn't know how she was doing, we didn't know when we'd be home, and I didn't know what my emotions were doing. It was the familiar, but uncomfortable dance of the unknown. Familiar. Accepted. But still uncomfortable.
And so we waited in the halls of the hospital for news, for change, for an update, for good news. Medical crisis teach the good lesson of living with the 'I-don't-knows'. They are also good for bringing friends and family together. Even while life hovers between suffering, hope, and breathing machines, there is laughter, hugs, stories, and reminiscing. The waiting room camaraderie is good for the soul. It is good not to be alone.
On Tuesday night, not only were we reminded of the somberness of ICU journey from a couple of years ago, we were also reminded of the goodness of the Lord, particularly in the waiting room vigil that was filled with hugs, reunions, laughter, catching-up, and waiting for an opportunity to see our friend. I remembered how God touched us many times by sweet friends showing up at just the right time being His hands and feet.
I remembered how He is good even when it's hard.