Two years ago today, a wonderful man died. A strong man, a strong husband. Not an old man, but not quite young. Very healthy. It was a catastrophe at work, an accident; we’d later learn that he fell off a ladder.
And in that very tragedy, in that very death, in that very definitive end, there was life. Because two years ago today, my dad received that man’s kidney.
This kidney failure, this illness, this crippling disease, this life-extending gift . . . it impacts not just my father. It impacts family, friends, community. This pain was felt by so, so many. This pain forever altered daily life and forever altered how I live it.
Tonight, I want to pour out my heart with tales of brokenness and mercy and heavy loads lightened and the sick and the well and rich, undeserved grace. Tonight, I want to write it eloquently and heart-wrenchingly and beautifully.
To bring to memory and put words to this is startling and healing and startling again. Much is a blur. When we try to un-blur memories, they sometimes return a bit sharper than we expected, yes?
I can’t write all about this kidney transplant right now. It’s too big. And to write it all down now, in all the detail and emotion and sentiment it deserves, feels like an attempt to mount an elephant in one running leap: insurmountable.
I want to tell you about all of it. I want to tell you how this disease started and how it continued. How it changed my life and my faith and my world. I want to tell you about families and fears and death and life and responsibility and vulnerability and weakness and strength. About dialysis and emergencies and shouting and silence and the fire department and the fire of hope that waned and waxed. About organ donation and transplants. I want to tell you about fathers and mothers and siblings and loving from afar and guilt and boundaries and walls and fences. About messes and tear-stained cardigans and tear-stained pillowcases. About rejection and meds. About neuropathy and biology and the heart. About lost and found and home. And about perseverance and anxiety and hiding and runny noses and teary eyes and beauty and healing and redemption and faith rebuilt.
And I will. I will tell you all about it. I’ll mount that elephant, wrinkle by wrinkle. I will, someday.
But for tonight, I will celebrate. For tonight, I will give myself time and patience. What may be insurmountable tonight will not be always.
For tonight, grace. For tonight, hope. For tonight, joy and gratitude and praise.
Speaking of grace, thanks for yours towards me. Rich love and rich support is what sustained me and my family then, and what sustains today. For being there two years ago and being there today and being there tomorrow, thank you. Beyond grateful for it all. You need to know how meaningful you are to me. (Yes, you.)