Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Met My Deceased Donor Today

My tears fell with her very first words. "I am the mother of your donor."
For the last year, I've prayed for, thought about, sent thoughts, prayers and hope for healing to these people, but today they became real. He had a name. He was 28 years old with a fiance, parents, a brother, two sisters and a myriad of friends and family who were crushed by his death. He loved music, playing instruments, making jokes, serving others and being with the people he loved. He had a motorcycle nick-named "black nasty".  He camped, sang and laughed with people who were left behind to figure out how to go on without him. I have a little piece of his mortal remains, living and working inside my body. It gives me a chance at a future I never would have had without it. A future which belongs to me now and feels emptier to his loved ones. I can laugh and love and teach my children because I'll live long enough to impact their lives. A gift that belongs to me now, and one his family must do without.
A pancreas transplant is not considered a life saving procedure, a cure, or even the end of a diabetic's health problems. For me...this pancreas was all of those things and more.
His gift to me was weddings, graduations, grandchildren, and anniversaries that I will celebrate and he never will.
My mother doesn't have to bury one of her children. My husband doesn't have to find a way to be both mom and dad. My kids don't have to learn about the finality that comes with death or the faith it takes to lose someone and wait for the resurrection. His parents, siblings and fiance must learn those painful lessons.
I don't know if he wanted to make this kind of sacrifice for me, but because he did, we are forever bonded. A huge part of me wished I'd known his heart and soul instead of just his organ. A part of my heart grieves for his family and can't imagine how I could accept such a gift from a loving generous being, like him. Perhaps its better that he and I will meet after this life so I can thank him properly. I'm certain I couldn't have asked or thanked him before the fateful night which changed both our lives.
I pray my friend, that my life will be a fulfillment of your hopes, dreams, and desires, as a way to thank you for your gift. I hope someday to wrap my arms around you and let you feel the depth of my gratitude. I hope your family and friends are as proud of the life you've given me as they were proud of you.
A parent should never bury a child. Yet, your family worked through this horrible ordeal and still thought of my life, my future and my family. "Greater love hath no man."
Thank you Colby. May God bless you and all those you love.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crucify Him!

In the darkest part of the night, in the year 33 A.D., an innocent man was tried, convicted and executed to save mankind. He was dragged from his family and beloved friends before a secret court-a perversion of the law-, taken before the "King" and then turned over to the Governor of the conquering nation who held the entire Hebrew population in slavery. Much of it, in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours. When they took him to Ponchius Pilate for sentencing, a mob of Jews and Romans demanded execution, and Pilate appeased them.
For Christians, as well as anyone who is familiar with the story of the crucifixion, it is hard to imagine how "His" people could have done this to Him. I, imagine myself in this crowd, crying and pleading for them to release Him...but would I?
Most of the Jews this night were home in bed with their families. Most did not hear about what was happening until there was nothing to be done. Most found out about it when it was too late.
During His ministry, Christ's followers would line the roads where He walked. Waiting for Him, the chance to touch Him, see Him, be healed by Him. Where were these crowds when the cry went out, "Crucify Him!"
They were home, celebrating passover and preparing for the ceremony of the pascal lamb. Most of them didn't know.
This last Easter, in my church, our world wide congregation had a similar experience, in a much smaller scale.
Once a year, we have the opportunity to raise our hand in support and faith, of the leaders. These are men and women who speak with Christ himself and let us know what he wills for His church. When this moment in time arrived, a selection of people, spoke out in opposition to these leaders. Just as with the Jews who called for the death of The Savior, these individuals had the right to declare their opposition and question what was being taught. It happened very quickly. A few minutes in a series of meetings which lasted for 2 days. The majority of the people present, did not speak out in opposition. However...
"A group of disgruntled Mormons", or "Members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints spoke out against", are common phrases used to describe this event in written and spoken reports. Much like "The Jews" at the crucifixion of Christ.
When members of a large group are spoken of, it is not the beliefs of individuals who are tallied and reported, it is the few who become the masses who speak for us all. Judgements are made, criticism cast, and reputations destroyed in the dark of night before most of us even know what is happening.
There were 28,000 people in that building that afternoon and less than 28 individuals who spoke in opposition. There are 15 million members world wide who never got the chance to be reported on as individuals instead of the masses.
How many times have we done it to others.
-The Muslims are all fundamentalist terrorists?
-The immigrants are all illegal aliens?
-The Jews betrayed Christ?
Every time you behave in a way that diminishes your status as a son or daughter of God, you have become a part of the masses who may or may not have joined the cry, "Crucify Him." ? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust"

"Lift your feet and let me do the rest." His melodic Spanish accent, sent a shiver down my spine. Not the lilt of the words or his firm grip on my waist. The idea that if I lifted my feet off the 6 " wooden platform I stood on, this strangers hands and a thin rope were all that separated me from a plummet to the jungle floor.
With my heart jack hammering through my rib cage I blocked the images from my mind.
While Caesar described the tall trees, the zip line ropes strung between them and the wooden platforms we'd be landing on. I focused on flying.
The day before, Erik and I went parasailing in Mazatlan, Mexico. I rode tandem with someone ant the sensation of flying above the land and sea was still powerful in my mind. The height, the distance and the 60 foot drop evaporated into the darkness of my blindness. Only the fun remained alive in my soul.
Zip lining in Puerto Vallerta was exhausting, thrilling and rewarding. This time last year my body wouldn't have allowed me the energy or ability to do such a thing. For an old lady with a missing knee cap, two transplanted organs and no eyesight. It was an adventure I'll never forget. When we finished the course, a number of the other participants told me how brave and strong they thought I was for doing the course. While I appreciated their encouragement and kind words, a part of me wondered, why?
A 77 year old woman who was terrified of heights went as well. A little girl of about 7, let go of her mommy's hand, dangled from this rope and zipped into the trees. Her mother, let go and cheered when she landed on the other side. One lady zipped down the line, got caught and ended up dangling at the mid-point. Someone had to traverse the line to get her down.
Heights, concern for a child, being stuck on the line...these are all real, terrifying experiences, that with your eyes become monsters. I didn't have anything to be afraid of. True courage isn't "blindly" stepping into the unknown with a little pixie dust on your palms and the idea that you won't fall.
Real faith and trust came from the incredible people around me.
My husband, who watched me walk around the trunk of a tree on a six inch splintering platform with a sheer drop if I stumbled at all.
The 'monkeys' who taught us how to use the equipment and hoped my 6' 3" husband wouldn't pound their little 5' 4" inch frames into kindling if I fell.
The mother who let her child go, even though all the things that might go wrong plagued her while she did it.
The woman who lived a full life, raised kids and grand-kids, takes care of her husband with Alzheimer's and still chooses to face her fear of heights.
Courage isn't a quality you're born with. It's a muscle you grow. Not to stand in oblivion and ignore all the dangers around you, but hold tight to Faith. Believe in God, who is in control of everything. Trust, that whatever comes, you can handle it.
Plus...A little 'blind' Pixie Dust never Hurts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Somewhere In The Night

Darkness wasn't the problem. It wrapped around me like a thick blanket, cocooning me in my thoughts. There was nothing for distraction. No sound, no sight, no texture to connect me with my surroundings. Perfect oblivion.
Oblivion is only a deterant until connection is lost and emptiness takes over.  Sleep can not disguise nor numbness hide the darkness. It becomes alive with pain, fear, doubt and loneliness.
Being able to tell the difference between day and night is a thoughtless random act that occurs with the coming or leaving of the light.
When my babies were small, their cries of hunger and discomfort were closely followed by a silent plea from my mind that the sun would stay below the horizon for a few precious hours so I could sleep once the baby was back in bed. exhausted, discouraged, no end in sight, I begged the dawn to leave me alone for a little while longer.
Night and day no longer come to me in the form of light and dark. The night is quiet, timeless, a cool blanket of oblivion which surrounds me and separates me from life.
Day begins with small sounds: sprinklers, small birds, a child who awakens before dawn to use the bathroom, the first sounds of traffic beyond my door.
I can judge the time of night or morning it is by what noises the earth makes.
This causes problems of its own. Without the light to tell the time, I must be awake to hear the noises. Every sound is an alarm clock in my mind.
Its common for blind people to lose track of day and night without light to show the difference. It can cause insomnia, exhaustion, depression and other mental issues. When I was a girl, my father told me the stars and the moon were God's way of letting us know he never leaves us alone in the dark. Clearly, its not the darkness that leaves us alone. It is the absence of light. Sometimes welcome when sleep is short and too shallow. Sometimes the miracle one prays for to get through a terrible night. At times the stripping away of precious days and hours before understanding comes. Sometimes a false hiding place from reality. However, all of life can be broken down to darkness and light. Just as all happiness depends on the level of grief and pain from which we've escaped.
A person, like me, who lives only in the dark, doesn't appreciate a beautiful sunrise. It comes and goes. A person who had never seen a sunrise, will never know the dawning of light, and therefore can not tell the day from the night?
The presence of light goes beyond your eyes., It lives in your heart, your mind, your skin, your ears and your life.
If you can't tell the day from the night, or if you wish to swaddle yourself  in one without the other, close your eyes. Reach for light with something besides your eyes, or your mind, or what ever part of you believes in darkness. Darkness can not exist in the presence of light. Even if you close your eyes and banish it. The biggest, darkest night flees in the face of a single flame. God is light. His creations, his words, his sounds, his colors and his space and time. He owns the night, just as he controls the day. Wrapped in His arms the night enfolds a peaceful slumber and the day dawns a ray of hope.