I found myself frozen, standing on the fifth floor, stairing down the same Neuro ICU hall just as a few years before. As the double doors opened, I could clearly see into the room at the end of the hall; the room once occupied by my nephew during the last days of his short life. Despite being on the unit for a work-related visit, I couldn’t keep the tears of sorrow from welling up in my eyes and running down my cheeks.
The pain of the memory became a bitter irony in the moment that my wife forwarded a picture of my niece preparing for her wedding to be held a few hours later. Anita had traveled south to Alabama to share in the beach-side service but I had decided to stay in Indiana with the kids.
As I viewed Andrea’s picture on my phone, a new rush of tears flowed. But rather than tears of sorrow, these were tears of joy. The contrast of the wedding dress to the ICU proved a painful and sometimes cruel point: Life and Death are realities of this journey and we can do nothing more than support and love one another in times of tragedy and celebrate with one another in times of blessing.
The author of Ecclesiastes stated this age-old truth best. “There is a time for everything…A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
As one who has seen others weep, I can’t help but stop and pray that the Lord would soon bring dance.
As one who has witnessed the mourning of so many, I lift my voice and cry out for joy.
This week alone, I’ve spoken to a family going through the pain of a wayward child, a mother and father suffering after the death of their baby, a man who’s job is in jeopardy, a woman who questions the faithfulness of her husband. I’ve spoken with men and women crippled by stroke, cancer patients and amputees.
In the last week I have heard sad stories and tears fill my eyes and prayers pass my lips. “Lord, bring on the dance.”