Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More life, more life!

(FYI-Yes, I got up early again!)

One of my new favorite shows of the Summer is a prime time drama on TNT called Heartland. Last night was the second episode of the series. TNT sold me last Summer with The Closer so I decided to come back for more this year and now they have Heartland with Treat Williams.

The gist of Heartland? It's about an overworked transplant Surgeon, Dr. Grant. He also works with his wife who happens to be the Organ-recovery coordinator. I had no idea there was such a position until I watched this show. In fact, it's made me think a lot about donorship. Am I an organ donor? No. I don't know why but, I'm not. My husband is an organ donor and his driver's license says so. But for some reason I said no at the DPS when they asked me and now I'm kind of bothered that I said no (I plan on researching everything about this because I am interested now). One of the things about this show that gets me is the fact that the loved one of someone dying has to be approached about being an organ donor before the person dies. Now if the dying person has already documented that they would like to be a organ donor, there is no discussion. But many times, there isn't so the loved one has to be approached in the midst of deep pain. Some of the story lines so far on the show have been difficult to watch. A young guy has to decide whether or not his wife who was fatally injured in a car accident, will be a donor or not. She is still breathing with help of a machine, her heart is still beating but there is no brain function. To make it even more difficult, her husband was in the same car accident and he walked away without a single scratch. Now he must make this decision. He chooses to allow his wife to be an organ donor after he finds out that it will save another life on the very same night.

Last night's episode was about a man that Dr. Grant had performed a liver transplant on, only to have him come back for another one. Instead of taking care of his new liver, he began drinking again. He destroyed his own liver and a transplanted liver due to alcoholism. Despite his bad choices, he is placed on the liver transplant list again and awaits a donor. The Doctor struggles with his feelings towards the patient because he remembers the original liver donor. He was man trying to adjust the antenna on the roof so he could watch the Steelers game but fell to the ground. His wife on the way to the hospital made the decision that if he died, she would donate his organs. When he arrived at the hospital, wearing his Steelers jersey, he was gone. His wife and two kids knew that his heart, his liver, kidneys, etc. would go to someone in need and he would "live on". But this patient had destroyed the man's liver. Dr.Grant struggles with whether or not the patient deserves a second chance. The patient's son, decides he wants to give part of his liver to his Dad. (The liver is one of the few organs that can actually regenerate.) But the doctor refuses and tells the son that it would not be fair because of the risk and because his dad would not change but destroy the liver again. The son keeps asking him to change his mind and tells Dr. Grant, "My Dad will change this time. I know it. I believe in him." The Doctor's internal struggle continues until the boy's mother visits (the patient's ex wife). She tells the Doctor (paraphrasing) "I've already lost my husband, if I lose my son, I have nothing." Well, I'm pretty sure you can guess how it ends. The boy gives part of his liver, the Dad lives and the Doctor reflects on second chances in his own life.

We've all been given second chances, even when we weren't so deserving. Give us something to do and we will mess it up. We're good at it. Marriages, friendships, jobs, money, health, we mess those up a lot. Humans are known for our many failed attempts at stewardship. And as much as we mess up our own lives, we feel the need to judge others and decide whether or not someone else deserves a second chance. In the Heartland series, Dr. Grant often goes to his friend/mentor, Dr. Bart Jacobs played by Dabney Coleman. In last night's episode, Dr. Grant tells Dr. Jacobs that he never remembers the dead (those that GET the transplant) but he always remembers the recoverees (the donors). He remembered the recoveree wearing the Steelers jersey and the liver he recovered and transplanted into the alcoholic. He said, "How would this man's wife and kids feel about this alcoholic that did not take care of his liver? They still believe that a part of him walks with them on this earth." But Dr. Jacobs says, "Nate, you have to focus on the living. More life, more life. That's what we do."

How can I give more life to others? We all tend to get consumed with our own mess and struggles. For the past couple of days I've been thinking about some of my current circumstances and if I think too hard, I get stuck there. So how about I focus on giving life to someone else? Instead of focusing on me, I can focus on the living around me! More life, more life! That's what we are supposed to do! The amazing thing about the patient and his son concerning the liver transplant was the possibility of the alcoholic changing because of his son believing he deserved a second chance. Dr. Jacobs says to Dr. Grant, "What if the son giving part of his liver is what makes his Dad finally change?" Knowing that someone believes in us is a powerful thing. It's something in my life that can make me run fifty miles instead of one. Feeling valued is essential in life. If we can't find value or meaning and if we don't feel that others can find that in us, what's the point? When we believe in others, we give them life.

Just last week, someone asked me to do something. The weird thing about it is I want to do it, I would love to do it and I have dreamt of doing it but I have never felt that I could do it. Until, I was asked. Knowing that someone believes in me or feels that I could do that of which they asked, empowered me. My dream, my desire it actually seemed like a reality because someone believed in me.

For the past three days I have been praying that God can use me to show others that they have a purpose. How can I give someone life? How can I show others I believe in them? It only takes one person to make a difference or change our way of thinking. So how can I give life? My Dad was someone I always had hope for. When others would tell me that he would never quit drinking or that he would never get a job, or that he would never change, I believed. I found hope and I believed he could change. I truly believe that the hope I have always had for my Dad, the prayers I have prayed since I was a little girl, have been answered because I believed in Him. He has not had a drop of alcohol in almost eight years and he is an assistant golf pro, doing what he loves for a living. Just hearing him on the phone, I realize there is life in his voice! Life I never saw as a child but life I see and hear now. Where there once was depression and doom, there is life! It was exhausting at times to believe in him. It was painful to believe in him. But my prayers and my hope that he could change came through. God healed him.

Who am I giving life to right now? Who is it I can believe in? Even if it is exhausting and painful, who can I give life to? I think we are constantly given opportunities to give life. We see the grim situation, or a situation where someone needs hope, and we make a choice. Just as the husband chose while his wife was still breathing on a ventilator, to allow her heart to be donated, we make a choice. Giving life isn't always easy. People are messy. People hurt us, reject us and do things that make us want to run away as fast as we can. But think of those that have given us life. What would have happened if they would have said no to us? Where would we be if it weren't for the people that decided to see through our messiness and believe in us? I am finding that as I give life to others, life is given to me. The mother of the boy wanting to give part of his liver describes this so well. She explains that if the Doctor does not allow him to give part of his liver to his dad, she will lose her son. For when he gives his Dad life, he receives it for himself in return. Isn't that what giving does? While we don't do it to get back, it just happens that way.

How can I be a recoveree and give more life?


Christina said...

Beautiful post! More life, More life!!!! What an awesome motto to have!

That's what we should all want to be - a person who gives life to others, intentionally.

Thanks for this post.

Wendy said...

That is so awesome about your Dad! I hope to be able to say the same about my mom someday. I know there is hope, but like you said sometimes it is hard too.

I love that you live life intentionally and think about things like this! We should all be living like that. I was just thinking that I need to be more bold about sharing my faith.

Olive said...

Great observations, Amanda! In reagard to the donation aspect, I am beyond a huge fan of donating!

Some close frineds of mine lost their 6 month old baby about 8 months ago due to a heart condititon. She recieved a heart transpant, but it didn't take.

I am still amazed by the donor parents who, under whatever circumstances lost their little baby, and decided to donate their child's heart to Payton.

Even though Payton didn't live, her parents lives and perspective have been changed forever. God has used this in thier lives to call them into adoption for thier next child- and even more, to adopt a "heart baby".

Payton's life was short and she couldn't speak or communicate much at her young age, but her impact is lasting, and because of her, a child who may never have had the opportunity to healthcare and a loving family, will.

Even just their testimony of Payton's life is breathing life into other lives- how amazing is our God!

Kelly Ann said...

I just wanted you to know that our talk on the phone yesterday gave me "more life." Thank you for calling and helping me see that I am a "normal" mom of a newborn. :)

I love watching you grow more and more like Christ every day. I love watching you obey, give to others and in turn get filled up yourself. This new phase coming up soon - I KNOW without a doubt that you can do it! God has given you awesome gifts and He is allowing you to use them again. That ROCKS!!

I love you, friend!
Kelly Ann

Anonymous said...

I first posted on your blog August of 2006, and have apparently been lurking around your blogs ever since.

I love what you have written today. I watched Heartland last night and thought it was great, what you have written really speaks to some things I am continuing to work on in my life.

Thank you for continuing to be real.....so even lurking people can listen to the things that God continues to teach you.

You have continued to bless me


Anonymous said...

This is profound. I sincerely love your analogy about the transplants - truly something that will stick with me.
Thanks for encouraging me again today! You're on a roll sister!

ruth said...

This was REALLY good!

I felt like I was reading out of a book, it was so well put.

This really spoke to me...thank you Amanda for sharing your wonderful insite.

Gwen said...

What a great post! Thank you for your words!

Oh and yes...I would love it if you would email me recipes from time to time! THANK YOU!

Have a great night!

Brenda said...

Wonderful post! :)

Shelley said...

This post spoke to my heart. Thank you.

Liz said...

I loved this post! I want so much to be a person who gives more life, an encouragment to those who don't have much hope, someone who looks beyond and sees what God sees.

That is so great about your dad. What a wonderful testimony of faithfulness and of God's awesome work. There really is something to be said about having faith in someone.

Beautiful thoughts thanks for sharing!