Month of Gratitude: Rent (not what you think)

I am thankful all 365 days of the year but during this #MonthOfGratitude I will be narrowing it down and sharing with you all things I am grateful for! Since there are 26 letters of the alphabet and Thanksgiving is on November 27, this is how it goes: 

Post something you're grateful for that begins with each letter of the alphabet each day leading to Thanksgiving. It's a great way to focus on the blessings in your life and not the stresses of the holiday season! 

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by my specialty care physician to attend the showing of RENT! at Florida Southern College. What was unique about this showing was that it was the School of Nursing and Theater that put on the production. I was intrigued. Mostly because I had never seen RENT! and I was touched that my physician thought so highly of my advocacy work that she invited me. At the time she didn't know the details of dates or times, so I didn't think much else of it.

Until two days later, I was with my daughter at her youth leadership team meeting and the director mentioned she knew someone at Florida Southern College who would like for me to attend the showing of RENT! at the Festival of FIne Arts, by her nursing students. I smiled inwardly because God was obviously orchestrating things and I needed to be there.

So, I went. I brought my 11 year old daughter and 9 year old niece. This wasn't planned, but I was rolling with it. I have to watch it again for some things to make sense (I'm a detail-oriented person, but respond emotionally), and I should have written this the night I saw it. I loved it! I loved it to the point that three things came from it:

  • I want to learn to tango
  • I must learn the words to
  • I'm in love with the cast at Florida Southern College. They're vocals were astounding!
Having purposefully never read anything about the production, I did correctly predict who would die though. I didn't predict that even after that scene there would be more tears. The best part was getting to meet the cast afterwards during the reception dinner and being able to share what my life has been like with HIV compared to the portrayal of AIDS in the show. They were warm and kind, which I felt was so sweet because I know they were exhausted and full since we dined on the best lasagna I'd had in my life. 

I'm grateful for this specifically because I got a glimpse into what was created to be a statement and has now become a consensus for people experiencing challenges in love, life and living. I'm grateful because HIV/AIDS isn't on a AZT timer anymore, that housing for people with HIV/AIDS isn't such a struggle (still exists), and that through being entertained, people can become educated, challenged to think outside the norm, their comforts and forced to sing catchy songs about real-life situations they may know nothing about, but will subconsciously always remember. My night watching RENT! was probably one of the best I've had all year long. I want to go to another showing alone, with closer seats and another chance to meet with the cast. Call me obsessed or call me a Rent-head.

Have you seen it? What did you think? What else are you thankful for that starts with the letter "R"?