Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Expand( 07/18/13)
A Wider Place
By Brenda Rice
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When I was born doctors explained to my parents that I had a rare heart defect. Some of the muscles in my heart were atrophied which meant they could not expand or contract enough to pump blood out of my heart. This diagnosis meant a heart transplant was in my future. Everyone said I was blessed to be alive.
A small room with an antiseptic smell was home for my first four years. A machine did what my defective heart couldn’t do. My only embraces came from people wearing masks, gowns and gloves. I longed to feel the touch of my mother’s soft hands and to snuggle into my dad’s whiskers.
As the years passed, the machine and the medications didn’t work as well any more. My doctors and nurses worked diligently to keep me going as the search for a donor heart began. My transplantation day came one month after I turned four. I was old enough to know that something big was happening. Everyone tried to act like it was just another day, but I knew I was going to live or die that day.
I’ve never liked thinking about the donor, because a heart donor dies. In my case, a child had to die. My comprehension was stretched to the maximum as I rationalized the impact a total stranger’s grievous loss had had on my life.
The anniversary of the transplant is the time I most often think about the donor. Though my life began anew that day, the donor’s life ended. Someone cried. Probably many some ones cried. I wonder if they think about me on the anniversary of the death of their child. Do they feel glad a part of their child lives on inside of another? I hope so.
All my life my parents encouraged me to expand my thinking beyond the sadness of the great loss. They told me the donor parents chose to give life to another child. So, I needed to expand my thinking from a narrow place of grief to a wider place of peace and joy.
Finally, I was able to do what my parents asked. I even went a little further and expanded my faith to believe the heart now beating inside me is capable of wonderful things…things far greater than would have been possible with my little sickly heart.
In I Chronicles 4:10, the Bible says—Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory (border) and that Your hand might guide me and keep me from evil that I may not cause pain. NKJV
I often thank God for the people who in their deepest sorrow saw beyond the narrow place into a wider place where they could bless another one of God’s children. I sincerely hope their gift to me somehow lessened their pain.
Since God helped my donor’s family expand their border wide enough to include an anonymous child who was dying, I have embraced all the circumstances of my life. And yes, I am blessed.
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