How do you thank someone whom you’ve never met and may never meet?
In early August of 2001, two Oklahoma families received phone calls that would forever change their lives. I had been on the liver transplant list since December of 1999. On August 7, we were winding down for the evening. My industrious husband was finishing up yard work, our middle son was at the deli with friends and our daughter, then 12, was in the house with me. Our oldest son was a U.S. sailor stationed in Puerto Rico. Then, at 9:27 p.m., the phone rang.
My daughter answered. The caller identified himself as the transplant coordinator from the hospital and in one smooth motion, she spun around with her arm outstretched, shoving the phone toward me. The look on her face shouted, “This is it!” This was the call for which we had waited for so long. In a split second, our lives were changed.
So, how do you thank someone whom you’ve never met and may never meet? Easy. you pray.
I remember the sobering moments during our two-hour trip to the hospital when suddenly, in the midst of our excitement, silence fell as we stopped to reflect upon the family who was in mourning at the very moment we were rejoicing. We prayed for comfort for that family in their loss, as well as thankfulness for their precious gift. We also prayed for my surgeon and his team, the prayer that had not ceased since the day I was listed.
It is impossible to experience something like this and not emerge a new person. Strength, courage and compassion are discovered in places one never imagines. You discover traits in yourself as well you didn’t know you had as your faith is tested and strengthened through the trial. You truly will never be the same physically, mentally and spiritually. I’ve been given the opportunity to watch my children grow and mature into beautiful, flourishing young adults as well as enjoy the new life my husband and I are sharing as “empty nesters”. It was a rough ride indeed, but I am sincerely grateful for having experienced it.
I believe in second chances. I have never learned the name of my donor. For reasons I do not know, the family has chosen not to respond to my letters. So for now, though I do not know the name of the one who gave me a second chance at life through his precious gift, I do know the name of the One of whom I have placed my faith. He has given me abundant life on earth as well as eternal life one day in heaven. He is my Peace in the storms, a Comforter in my afflictions and the Maker of all that I am and will be. He is the God of second chances.
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