The Greatest Gift Ever

Have you ever received a gift from someone you don’t know? Would you guess that gift might be the greatest gift ever received by anybody? Would you ever expect to give a gift so special and have that person receiving the gift not ever even knowing your name? Can you imagine giving a gift that special, and not even know you were giving that gift to someone? No it’s not coaching, advice, or even listening. Giving is at the heart of living a great life. To not even know their name and they don’t even know they are giving, yet they will be the greatest giver of all time in the life of my brother-in-law Dennis. Dennis is like a brother to me and is on the Denver heart transplant list. Sadly, for him to live, he needs a healthy heart within 2 hours of someone dying, so he can be prepped for surgery. Even more sad is that the heart often will come from a deadly accident or unexpected tragedy.

As we pray for Denny, we also pray for others around our world to be healthy and safe. Is this a paradox? Someone today, or in the next few weeks, most likely unaware of their impending death, will be a donor and will hopefully extend Denny’s life another 20-30 years. Could it be me? We just don’t know.

Waiting for someone to die

We read about transplant patients a year after receiving a heart having a joyous reunion with the family members who donated their loved one’s heart. Then they actually can feel and hear the heart of their loved one beating inside another person – a stranger. It is surreal – just surreal.

Making sense of it all

Here is the sad truth –  without a new heart soon, Denny will be the one who dies. We don’t want Denny to die. We don’t want another person to unwillingly die either. So we turn these decisions over to faith or fate. In both we hope outcomes for all will in some space and time continuum make sense. In our frail human destiny we simply hope and pray for humanity to be great beyond any one person, surgery, or accident.

The beautiful fruit trees bearing fruit and shade were planted many years earlier by someone no longer with us today. Their gift of planting was never meant to be enjoyed by them, rather by others.

Being a great giver may be less conscious and more unplanned. To know our gift of life inside each us can live in another, we sometimes call that inspiring or motivating. In other cases, physically we can become the greatest gift any person can give to another.

Some of the most satisfying moments in life come through unplanned intrusions and interruptions. ~ Rochelle Melander

Epilogue

Dennis got a call in his small apartment near the UC Health Center in Denver on February 22. They said “We have a heart for you. It’s a good one.” We only know it was from a young man in his mid-20’s. Suicide, overdose, car accident, something else – we don’t know. We will only know the fate of the donor a year from now, if that family would like to meet Denny. Denny is now over a month with a new heart. His progress and strength is amazing. So far there is no host-graft disease or rejection. We are encouraged and excited for Denny’s new life. He has a second birthday – Feb.22. Sadly that date also completes the dash on a tombstone showing the end of a young man’s life ended too soon, or just in time for Denny. The life of the unknown greatest giver of all time.

Live and Give joyfully,  everyone!

Jim

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