Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
The quote above is so appropriate for this post because it was love that gave me the courage for what I was about to do seven years ago today. The days leading up to March 14, 2006 were filled with hope, excitement and relief for both of us involved and yet those other emotions of fear and yes, a little anxiety, were evident as well, at least for me since I can only speak for myself at this point. And, yet, above all there was a sense of acceptance and while I embraced hope at this time there would be a day not too far from today that I would be on a quest to find my faith. More on that in Part 2.
Some of you by now are wondering what I’m talking about. For those of you who remember, you’re probably finding it hard to believe that it’s been seven years for I can hardly believe it myself. There were intentions, goals, plans and so much more going through my mind. When I decided to write this I thought I would be able to share a few lessons that I learned from this experience and I’ve narrowed it down to 5 Life Lessons and by the time I share Part 2 there may be a few more.
Seven years ago today I added another ‘mission’ to my life’s story, which was to become a live kidney donor. To be honest, this wasn’t something I thought about doing; it was something that life brought to me and there weren’t any questions about whether or not I would be tested because if I could help save someone’s life, well, it had to be done.
When I found out that I was a ‘good match’ to the recipient, the joy I felt was overwhelming. There were several important markers that created a good match and one of them was blood type. Needless to say, we were hopeful that our ‘B+’ blood types and ‘be positive’ attitude would help carry us through. To be a match was a miracle in itself, however the bigger miracle was to be a wife-husband match. The odds of being a match to a non-related live kidney donor are now more possible due to medical advances, however, seven years ago it was a blessing to find out we were a match.
And surely it meant that everything would work out. Right? It had to because my husband’s life truly depended on it.
Lesson 1: Control
If there was ever a lesson to be learned about control, this would be it. I had no control over being a match other than being the one (in thousands) that had the markers (and good health) that would create this endeavor. And, I absolutely had no control of the surgery itself or the outcome. More about that in part 2.
Lesson 2: Love
Love conquers all! Or, as Lao Tzu brilliantly quoted (above), “…while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” It was hard at first for me to embrace the idea about having courage as it was he who had courage. The courage to go through everything he endured with diabetes….and I really didn’t want that ‘D’ word to appear here as I speak of love and courage, however, it was the cause of so much pain and yet at this point in our lives this undertaking brought us closer together. “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
That says a lot……..it’s exactly how I felt just before the surgery. I remember being told (a couple of weeks prior), that if I didn’t want to do this it would be okay, however, that wasn’t part of the equation. How could I not do this? It was meant to be so I saddled up!
Lesson 3: Uncertainty
I remember someone telling me that the only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, all I could ‘be certain of’ was prayer, embracing hope and having faith that everything would work out. There was a part of me that was confident it would…which brings me to…
Lesson 4: Spiritual Surrender/Letting Go
One of the biggest lessons was to ‘let go’ and trust in God. My spirituality is important to me and at that time it was more important than ever. As we’ve heard, “If God brings us to it, He will bring us through it,”‘ and I’m sure that was on my mind as well as asking my sister to be sure I woke up after the surgery. Since I’m human, that was on my mind too, however I was ready, able and once again, embracing hope. Lessons 1, 2 & 3 were all involved here too.
Lesson 5: Anticipation and Expectation
This is still a tough lesson. If we live with anticipation then we won’t be disappointed by expectation. That is all I can really say right now for this lesson. More about this in Part 2.
And I think the biggest lesson of all is Gratitude. I can remember this day like it was yesterday. My family and closest friends were there to support us with countless others waiting for the updates by phone. We were so grateful to have their support and prayers. One team, one day, one chance to see this through.
Love is powerful and it was certainly felt so deeply that day. It was a day filled with emotions and “they just showed up with their big old hearts…” from the Tracy Lawrence song, Find Out Who Your Friends Are
Find out Who Your Friends Are by Tracy Lawrence
Closing thoughts for Part 1:
We often ask why when challenges arise in our lives and maybe it’s more empowering to ask what. What can I do with this experience? I wasn’t asked to consider being tested when finding out that a kidney transplant was his best chance of survival. I chose to be tested and volunteered to be a live donor and would do it again. I knew that a kidney from a live donor would be the best chance for him vs cadaveric kidneys.
Today, March 14, is World Kidney Day and maybe it’s serendipity, however, I didn’t know this until today and also find it interesting that it’s taken me seven years to write something about this experience. I think once I get through part 2 you will understand the why (okay, had to use that reference here). For me and for today, I celebrate the gift of love and courage and ponder the idea of ‘what’ else I can do with this experience. Surely it will come to me if I continue to embrace hope and hold on to faith. My other hope with writing this is to spread awareness of the living kidney donor program and to take care of your kidneys. There are a few links included here that have more information.
Part 2 will be posted on March 26. Thank you for stopping by and stay well.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
Photo Credit: ©Donna Adinolfi