Two guitars, four maracas, three egg shakers, and a tambourine. We were ready to head into the ICU! It was my stepfather’s third week in the cardiac intensive care unit after surviving two emergency bypass surgeries and a five-day coma. None of us knew what lay ahead. The only predictability during those days was the twos: two visiting hours in the morning, two in the evening, and only two visitors at a time. No exceptions.
Except on this day.
The drill sergeant receptionist paused as we marched in, hopeful and with instruments in hand. She looked us over with even more disapproval than usual. Was she going to kick us out? Then, a twinkle of joy appeared in her eyes. She looked cautiously over her shoulder and hit the access buzzer, hiding her slight smile.
Into the ICU went seven family members and their ten instruments. We sang our way to my stepfather’s bed, drowning out the morbid beeping of life-support machines along the way. A new, joyful rhythm took its place. Soon the nursing staff and security guard joined in! Surely, no song would erase the uncertainty of what lay ahead for my stepfather, or anyone else in the ICU. But for that day, the need to pause, sing, and give thanks overcame us all. Eight years later, my stepfather still recalls that day as one of his most joyful ever.
When have you found yourself feeling overcome by inexplicable joy or hope during a moment of grief?
God, help us embrace the joyful moments that peek through our times of great need or pain. Let us remember God’s commitment to us, as with Job, to fill our mouths with laughter and joy amidst our toughest moments. Amen.