I had no idea when I got up this morning, I would end up at Vanderbilt’s Critical Care Unit Early this morning I got a call from one of my dearest friends, Becky, saying that a daughter of a friend of hers had attempted suicide last night. She was only 29 and her family had not yet made it to her side.
We’ll call her ‘Stacey.’
I don’t know the details of Stacey’s ‘story’ yet, but I kept thinking, 29 years old and the best option in her mind was to take her own life. To end it all.
Can’t say I’ve never considered that. In fact, I’ve had thoughts that maybe this world would be better off without me. I’ve wondered if an insurance policy might be more beneficial than my taking up space. I’ve even felt so incredibly alone that I wondered if anyone besides my parents, would really even miss me. I was so devastated when my granny died, I wanted to crawl in the casket with her.
I know, I’m not normal. Besides,
If you’ve been reading, you know that “normal” is not something I ever want to BE!
I was nervous about going to visit a young woman I’d never met. Especially at such an incredibly tough spot in her life. Her barely spared life. I mean, when you think about it, a Critical Care Unit isn’t exactly where you think of going to make friends. But maybe it should be.
In fact maybe that’s how we should seek out relationships. Instead of trying to befriend those who could do something for us, maybe we should make a permanent switch to seek out people we can just love. We can encourage them, build them up, give them hope, change their perspective.
Other than my all time best friend, TJ who’ve I’ve known since birth, the best friends I’ve ever had have been those who, in spite of my mess, chose to love me. In doing so, they let their guard down about their own mess and I was able to reciprocate love right back to them. A bunch of messy lovers you could say. But isn’t that how it should be? Sure beats the superficial plastic garbage!
We got to Vanderbilt so fast today, it was as though Becky was flying down the interstate. I was still rehearsing what I might say, and envisioning what we would see.
I was wrong on all accounts.
When we arrived we had to wait on the administrator to check the room. While we waited, I looked out the window down about 3 or so stories below where families huddle in groups waiting for news of their loved ones.
I saw surgeons giving info, and some families thanking them. One imparticular family as soon as they saw the surgeons walking toward them, still head to toe in scrubs, rise to greet them. I saw a man trying to take in all the facts, while the rest clinched hands, and what appeared to be a mother or grandmother, cover her mouth in an attempt to not burst into tears.
Finally it was our time to go back to see Stacey. We were given instructions to wash our hands at the sanitize station, and were then led down a long hall.
There were critical care nurses and monitors and crash carts all along the hall to our left, and directly across from each were the patient rooms.
I saw tubes, intubated men and women, some in comas, some who were obviously being kept alive by technology. I mean, if you’ve ever seen the movie Steel Magnolias, the very end when Shelby is in the hospital and her lifeless body is lying there, the machines breathing for her and her family just watching, hopeless. That’s a good image of what it was like; minus Weezer.
When we walked into Stacey’s room, she was not intubated which was a major relief. She was however non-responsive, in a deep sleep. Her kidneys and liver had started declining even more and were not functioning properly.
But what I did see was a beautiful girl, such a gift to this world and I was sorry I had not met her before now. She was lying on her left side, with a pillow propping her up and her hand resting on it for comfort. She was so still, the only sign of life was her breathing.
Becky fell on both knees, took my hand, touched Stacey’s arm and started praying. Actually, I think we’d both pretty much been praying since before we even parked the car. Then, I knelt on the floor by her bed, and rested my other hand on her leg.
Our hearts were completely broken by what we were experiencing. The tears were so overwhelming at times it was hard to speak. Here we were, laying hands on a beautiful, precious young woman who aside from a miracle could’ve just as easily been dead and not in a hospital. I don’t know if she could hear us or not, but it was as if my soul was screaming out to her spirit to fight! Fight, Stacey, FIGHT!! You have to come out of this.
I was upset that she would try and take her own life. I was mad that she didn’t get help. I was angry that of the 5 million churches and 5 billion Christians in this city, plus all the other organizations, fellowships and communities that no one had reached out to her, at least not enough. And, I was furious that she had been plagued with so much pain that this seemed like the best option.
I wanted to hug stacey. I wanted to kiss her forehead as I do my son’s just to tell him I love him. I wanted to sing to her. I wanted her to physically feel Christ wrapping His arms around her and absorbing her pain.
I prayed over Stacey. Though I’m not sure what I prayed. I know in my spirit I was thanking God for so many people in my life that bring hope and encouragement and like you, support.
I remember Pastor Hardwick saying one time after visiting some tough situations that he could never do the things these people had done. Then he told us how someone interrupted him and said, “Under the wrong circumstances, you, too, are capable of anything.”
I realize that Stacey could be any of a number of us. If you don’t think so, maybe life hasn’t gotten tough enough yet, and I pray it won’t! But, if we’re honest with ourselves, I think most of us at some point would admit to wonder, at least, if we had the strength to go one, or if we even had a purpose in life anymore.
I want to go see Stacey again tomorrow. I want to meet her family and pray that are open to my loving on them out of a pure desire to be even a little bit of what I believed we’re called to be.
I want YOU to commit to praying for this beautiful girl. Stacey, you are SO worth it!!
I want YOU to continue lifting us up as this “21 Day Journey” winds down in a couple days.
I am blown away by the things God has revealed to us and the “stories” we’ve connected with.
I am not longer wasting the pain I have been through, but am rather choosing to let it be comfort, hope and even a way to cut through the small talk to build deeper relationships & pierce through what once were impenetrable barriers.
I’m not sure how to close this, except to say I am speaking victory and peace over each of you tonight as you read this.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you; may He lift up His countenance (smile) on you and give you peace.”
Thank you for joining “our story” as we write an incredible new chapter!
5 Days… Starting Now!
Please visit www.kaciallen.com/21.html to join us!