“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
No matter how we plan and expect things to turn out a certain way, sometimes God has a path he has already set out for us. It’s hard to accept when difficult things happen like chronic disease or Covid-19 and the life style change it has brought about. Doesn’t it mean when you are a Christian that life will run smoothly with no hiccups along the way? I’ve found instead that I have a Comforter, Counselor, Savior, and Guide. One of the first things God gave me from the beginning was peace to accept things as they came.
My life changed radically when my kidneys failed. He put it on my heart to write about my experience. My main purpose for this blog is to help someone else through kidney disease and dialysis. This is my story in excerpts.
“This Holiday Inn has a good hot breakfast,” Tommy, my husband, checked out the selection as I followed.
“I don’t see a microwave though. You know what the nutritionist at the hospital told me. There’s lots of bacteria from lots of people milling around and serving themselves. I’ve been getting by with nuking whatever I’ve taken in the other restaurants.” I shrugged. “You go ahead, honey. We can stop along the way for me something to eat that’s packaged.”
“Whatever you think,” he replied and picked up a plate.
As I looked for an empty table to wait for him, a trim, older lady dressed in navy scrubs deftly tied the full trash bag in the nearby trash can, pulled it out, and replaced it with a clean bag. She smiled as I walked over.
“Excuse me. Do you have a microwave?” I asked softly. “I just had a kidney transplant in March and I have to be careful what I eat. Buffets aren’t real safe for me.”
Her blue eyes widened and to my surprise she reached out and gave me a hug. With tears and a look of profound grief in her eyes she whispered, “God bless you. My grandson was a donor.”
I blinked back my own tears as a wave of conflicting emotions swept over me – first gratitude, then sadness for her grief poured in. “I may not get to ever meet the family of my donor to thank them in person, but I can tell you what a blessing my transplant has been. With my gift, I know you are grieving your grandson. I’m sorry for your loss.”
She patted my arm and made her way back to the kitchen. I filled my plate and followed.
She looked up from the tray she was washing in the deep sink in the corner of the room. “Our grandson was a remarkable young man. My husband and I had raised him from a baby. One day my husband and I were laughing in the kitchen after both of us had picked that day to get our driver’s licenses renewed, and we had signed up to be an organ donor without telling the other. The coincidence set us off, and he came downstairs to find out what was so funny.
“I explained what being a donor meant and that he could do it too if he wanted when he was eighteen. Lots of people donated blood, bone marrow, or a kidney, and he thought that was something he wanted to do too. He turned eighteen in January and he and his girlfriend were in an accident that May. He saved seven people as a donor. Fifteen hundred people came to his funeral.”
I slid my plate into the microwave, set the timer for a couple of minutes, and looked at her carefully. “From what they’ve told me at the hospital he is living on in at least seven people. I can’t express what my donor has done for me. My husband and I are on our way home after watching our granddaughter twirl at the baton nationals in Wisconsin. We’ve been to our oldest grandson’s baseball games all summer. I’ve got to hold my youngest granddaughter after she was born this spring.”
“I was on dialysis for two and a half years. I hadn’t felt like doing anything for a long time. Now I can, thanks to a new kidney. All I can say is thank you for your gift and your help.”
The lady looked back at the tray and began to scrub again as I forced the tears back. The microwave pinged. As I took out my plate and turned to walk back to the main room, she turned her head to the doorway and said, “The little girl down the block from us just had a heart transplant. She’s doing great. I’m glad you’re doing well too.”
When I sat down at the table with Tommy he noticed the tears in my eyes. “You okay?”
I smiled back at him. “Yes. I just have to process it, then I’ll tell you later.” I thought of my journey and how someone like the young man’s had ran parallel with mine.