Unexpected Gifts

Warren - Oak Park, Illinois
Entered on February 17, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

One afternoon, twelve years ago, my friend Marion called me on the phone. We’re both psychologists, we met during grad school in the mid-80’s, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. She has insights that I value, and usually I can make her laugh. But this call wasn’t an ordinary one. Her voice sounded hesitant and solemn, and she had a question for me. She wanted me to know that whatever answer I gave her, nothing between us was at stake, our friendship was secure. Marion’s question was, “Would you consider becoming a kidney donor for me?”

That question, and all the events that followed, turned out to be a gift for me. Getting the opportunity to play a pivotal role in someone else’s life, to do some Good with a capital “G” – this meant a great deal to me. But the gifts didn’t stop there. I thought about Marion’s request for several days. Another surprising gift was the sense of clarity I had about the decision. I knew there was no reason to hold back from saying Yes. So I did; I told her Yes. And from that moment,

I had an ongoing sense of grace and certainty. All the way through, I was guided by something greater than myself. There was no anxiety in me, because I knew that the procedure would go just as it should. Along the way, we learned that my kidneys were so efficient, the test results were off the charts. This made me an ideal donor. Thanks to the talented surgeon who performed the laparoscopic kidney transplant, it all went very well. Three weeks later, I was back at work with my clients, with only some small scars on my abdomen as a memento.

Today, the kidney that’s part of Marion now, and the one that stayed with me, are both doing fine. Going through an organ transplant heightened my personal connection with Marion – and so much more. The two of us were at the center

of a lively dance that involved our families, our friends, and the hospital staff as well. Beyond that, I became aware of a wide-ranging network of people who cheered and celebrated the transplant. In the years that followed, this sense of a great web of connection and love has been bolstered by many other experiences.

I believe that I’ve been led to this truth: that we are all connected.

Separateness is the illusion. There’s comfort in that.

And I enjoy knowing that I’m never really alone.