I braved torrential rains, flooded freeways, stupid drivers and yes, flat hair with the frizzies to visit a good friend in the hospital this morning. It was a celebration.
She wasn’t in an accident. She hasn’t been sick. She didn’t give birth to another son.
She gave away a kidney. To a total stranger. No, I’m not kidding.
It was a 14-month ordeal that she took on faith. Faith in the call God has had on her life. Faith that her kidney would go to the exact person who needed it. And it was a risk she was willing to take. For a stranger…
Several months ago, Deb had an aunt who was going downhill fast. She asked if there was anything she could do – and her cousin said, “Do you have an extra liver?” It got her to thinking. “No, but I do have an extra kidney.” Another family member was in renal failure at the time. She started looking into if she were an acceptable donor. In the process of dozens of tests, diets, complications and hiccups, the one whom she started the journey with in mind received a kidney from another donor. When asked if she wanted to be taken off the list, she thoughtfully declined.
“Someone out there still needs a kidney.”
Finally, news came that the recipient would be a young man about the age of her son. But then that fell through. The kidney would go to someone older than she. When she and her husband talked about this, they accepted it saying, “A life is a life.”
And so, with the support of her husband, boys, parents, siblings and friends, she had the surgery on Tuesday. It went off without a hitch for both of them.
So, what does Deb have through this experience besides a hole in her back? Better health because of the changes she had to make to her diet. A closer relationship with her husband, who’s been by her side the entire journey. The respect of her children and extended family and friends. But more than this, she owns the knowledge, honor and inner satisfaction that she sacrificed herself for someone else. Her kidney gave another person a second chance at life.
And I have to think that her husband is so supportive because he understands this in his core being. For he has been sacrificing himself for total strangers, too – as an officer.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" April 12th, 2012
Posted In: Uncategorized
It was quite a spectacle. The word was spreading … there were very large, light-skinned and blonde people who were making their way through the baranguay (neighborhood) called Pleasant Hills. They were Americans! The people came to their windows, doors, and peered out, smiling and shaking hands, sometimes cautious, but mostly curious. The children began pouring out of all nooks and crannies, dancing, playing, teasing, eyes lit up with joy as they herded around the very big men and the blonde “ma’am.” The crowd grew bigger and louder as the Americans made their way through the baranguay, cats and roosters scurrying to scoot out of the way…
I was having the time of my life with these little ones, watching, learning, drinking in the not-so-pleasant smells and the way of life of these Filipino people. Their faces were dirty, their hands so tiny, but their playful voices were a delight. As I meandered through the uneven street that was barely a couple of meters wide, I looked up to see an open door with a thick screen in front. It was dark in the home beyond, but in the soft light from above I could make out the form of a beautiful young woman. She didn’t come out. She just stood there, tentative and shy. A little voice in my head whispered, “Do you see me?” and I stopped. I looked closer … her thin arm holding onto the door behind, ready to close for protection. I smiled, and she returned the favor. A lovely smile…
I see you…
There are so many areas of this world that are war torn, poverty-stricken, overrun with crime. But, if we’re really looking, really willing to see, there is beauty there. And value.
So much of my days are spent in busy mode – I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to get things done, I don’t have time to look into the faces of those around me – in the check out line, in the car next to me at the light, at the next table. I just ignore them as if they’re not even there.
What if we just took the time to find beauty in unlikely places? To slow down a bit, look into a stranger’s eyes, exchange a smile… I think we’d then begin to really see.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" April 2nd, 2012
Posted In: Uncategorized