I am Joe’s body. He can no longer depend on me. Fatigue grips like a vice. The old pump organ is playing taps. This man needs a new heart.
Considering all the hard work Joe has done for the church and the community, it’s a wonder he has not keeled over before now. A nice person, he taught bible classes, drove the bus, fed the poor, and even visited the sick.
Heart transplant surgery is becoming a pretty common procedure. He wants to go on next year’s mission trip to build houses for some underprivileged folks. The medical team is giving a lot of information to his family. They seem sure he will be back to full speed in time to share in some hammering.
They smile and reassure, as if giving up an old heart for a new one is of little consequence. Actually, I would like to know more about this immunosuppressive therapy. A hundred thousand dollar word with seventeen letters must be fairly important in my long run.
I understand about the donor and Joe needing to be compatible, not that they ever met, but in the matching of important components in that liquid life force that flows through me.
Facts and figures about rejection of the healthy heart are discussed at length. How insulting, as if I would even think of rejecting something that would help my Joe boy here. The leader of this surgical group repeats for emphasis, “Transplant survival depends on ABO blood and tissue compatibility. ”
If those guys can install a new pump to keep Joe doing good things, I will try my best to accept it with grace and cooperation. He is a decent guy who is a real asset to his family, in fact to the whole town. He does not smoke, drink or cuss. He does not beat his wife or children or kick the dog.
Hey, where have they taken Joe? I seem to be here by myself and there is a lot of crying. I am all dressed up in a butler suit or something. There is singing and prayers. The family are hugging and murmuring about being confident they will see Joe again. It all sounds like a badly written script.
I am hearing stupid, poor grammar remarks like, “Don’t he look like himself?” I carried the man’s spirit around lo these many years. Who am I supposed to look like?
Hello, I am Joe’s spirit. Sometimes in spite of good pre-operative screening there is a rejection crisis. Joe’s body has no more voice. I am on my own now. I realize I am sitting in some kind of waiting room where we are anxious for the final step to eternal life. The line is moving slowly. There appears to be a scale and a tollbooth up ahead.
Ah, that’s a piece of cake. Nobody was any nicer than old Joe. Okay, now it is my turn. Confidently, I hop on the scale but it does not respond. I jump up and down. Nothing happens.
Hey, I need a little help over here please.
What’s wrong? Are these tall guys deaf? Why is the REJECTION sign flashing? Stop this moving conveyer belt this instant! I demand to speak with management. This is obviously the wrong way.
Now I am in a dark place, kind of warmish. There is a nasty tittering sound of amusement from some ugly guys at the check-in desk. Getting the picture, I gulp.
Joe’s new heart was compatible. It should have saved him. He made peace, he said, with the man upstairs. Now I wonder just what that meant?
Snarling and rabid looking, one of the scary creatures spits at me, “Even we can read the words from your book. We know who the Christ is, but we do not know him. Your precious Joe’s heart transplant was a sham, it didn’t work. You might as well face facts; it is all over but the shouting.”
The noise is increasing as I begin a long trek down through a putrid, one-way tunnel.
No, no, no! In blinding horror, I begin to sweat. I was so sure I walked in truth. At last I understand, but now it is too late. Why wasn’t I told?
Maybe this is a bad dream. God have Mercy, I scream. It’s me, Joe.
From extremely far away I barely can hear a sad voice saying, “All filthy rags; I never knew you.”