Allow me to quickly update you as to what my life has looked like lately. My grandfather, "Papa", recently experienced a severe downturn in his health. Last week my cousin Cindy texted me that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible because it appeared his life would be ending any moment. But then the minutes became hours and the hours became days. We were at the hospital around the clock anticipating the moment we were all dreading. And since only 2 of us could be in the ICU room at a time, the other 10-12 of us were basically living in a small waiting room for what became 5 days.
My family is absolutely amazing, we cried a lot, prayed a lot, and laughed a lot. The different things that happened to us over those five days were so dramatic that one night, I comically mentioned that we could make a musical about it. For some reason, most likely because we were all bored out of our minds, everyone jumped at the idea. So we invented a story about a spanish family just like ours in the same situation. I created a twitter hashtag and began creating the plot points along with pictures for them. We laughed A LOT creating all this. Plus, I learned a really beautiful lesson that I'll share in a moment. But for your enjoyment, here's what we came up with:
ICU: The Musical -Synopsis: a tale of love laughter & tears as we follow a family that's been in ICU for 5 days. Here's the poster!
Diego- A lively young man who loves laughter and life. Played by yours truly:)
Bella- Diego's cousin, a woman with extreme loyalty to her family. Played by Cindy
Susanna- Bella's twin sister, has the heart to be a caretaker in the family. Played by Sandy
Chico- Brother to the twins, the artistic one with a big heart behind cool glasses. Played by Cito
Gloria- Diego's mother, the joy of the family. Played by my Mom.
So the musical opens with a lively salsa/merengue number called "Ven Pa'ca" which means "Come here" in Spanish. The characters are all making there weekend plans telling there friends to come over etc.
When Diego hears the news he drops everything. He's spent so much time building his own life but upon hearing this, his independence doesn't matter to him anymore. He's running to meet his family and sings the song "Run Home To Momma"
You see, all along I was dealing with the struggle of watching my grandfather and the rest of my family suffer. There were moments I asked God why we had to suffer for days like this when He could easily and peacefully take my grandfather. I was feeling a lot of emotions that I couldn't process. But for some reason, having a character like Diego, helped me to work through it by taking a step back. I am a performer through and through and sometimes it's easier to think and feel through the lens of a character. Some of you won't get that, but others really will.
I dreamt up a scene for my character in which he expressed the emotions I couldn't. He (I) was angry at God and didn't understand why there had to be suffering like this. But then, while in his anger he realizes he's been looking at the pain and missed the beauty that God had brought his (my) entire family together to strengthen one another. The gift of an entire family that serves God is an amazing thing and he had been too focused on the pain to see God in the situation. He realizes how blessed they all are and changes his song from anger to praise singing "Now I See You" If we focus on the ugly things in life, we can miss the beauty of God. That's exactly what I was doing.
Afterward I thought about the verse that says that they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). Being cooped up in a room labeled WAITING became very frustrating, but waiting has a way of tying your hands and teaching you a thing or two. Having our hands tied in a season of waiting shows how reliant we are on God. We can't do anything without Him. We need Him completely but we forget that when there are things we can do because we think our actions are somehow helping God. It's only in waiting that we realize He's the one who does it all. He is our strength and when we wait we're giving Him room to move in us.
And then finally, dreaming about the finale to our show I pondered this family who has been locked up in waiting and realized that God has been aware of them the entire time and known just how to care for them. While my character spends the entire show learning how to see God through pain, God has seen him all along. I was reminded of one of my favorite names of God: El Roi, which means "The God Who Sees Me."
God revealed that as one of his names to Hagar in Genesis 16. This woman had been chewed up and spit out by life and it seemed that God had used her and thrown her away. Abraham and Sarah wanted a child so they used Hagar as a surrogate but then Sara got jealous so she abused Hagar and cast her out into the desert. So now, after being forced to lay with her boss, she has been cast out into the desert while pregnant. That's a pretty low point. But then God speaks to her and says that He sees her.
You may think there were better things God could have said, but if you've ever been in the kind of suffering in which it feels like everyone has forgotten you, there's no more comforting word than to know that God sees you. If you're in a season of waiting and it feels like you've been abandoned, God sees you. God really spoke that to me when it seemed like He'd forgotten us totally, He simply said "I see you waiting." And that was all it took. My heart was comforted, I knew that as long as His eyes were on me, I'd be okay. It's the same for you. His eye is on you. He is aware of what your situation is. Take a breath and realize that sometimes the waiting room is where the lessons are learned. I know it was that way for me. The ICU Waiting room has become the I See You Waiting Room and it can be that way for you too.
For those asking, my granpda is still in ICU but he's made big improvements. Thanks for all your prayers and support. He is eating, talking, and most of all, praising God. He is still in critical condition but we count each day as a miracle and we enjoy the time God has given us. If you are going through something, I want you to know my family prays together every night and it would be an honor to pray for you and your situation so just leave a comment and we will back you up! I leave you with two great things my mother has said to me during this time.
When life is a rollercoaster, family is here to throw our hands up and ride it together.
When life is a fog, Jesus is the Lighthouse. -Carmen McNeil