As I left Nicole's room to write this blog Nicole was sitting up in her bed and coloring a Hello Kitty coloring book that Wendy got her. She is starting to get squirmy, laugh a little bit, have color in her cheeks, and be the antsy little girl that we all love. She is so precious and beautiful. To realize that her new kidney, SID, is working is an amazing thing!! It is so incredible as a father to see your daughter come back to life. There is still a lot of recovery to go, don't get me wrong, but I feel a corner has been turned today. She has more pink in her cheeks then she has had her entire life. What is her future going to be like? Are things going to get easier for her in school? Are the things that she struggles with going to get easier? A million questions go through your mind as a parent. For today, though, it is success and success. That is what I feel. Really, the update for Nicole is that things are better than we all could have expected!!
Titia and I made the walk across the hospital again this morning to see Wendy. That is one of the coolest things ever. Words cannot express what this whole experience has been like. It has been terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. To see Wendy and Nicole start out in the same prep room, wheeled out one at a time, and then placed in separate rooms across this mammoth hospital to recover is just an awesome thing to experience. As I walk through these halls it gives you time to reflect a bit. Sometimes life is not so much about the destination as it is the journey. Sometimes, I believe, God wants us to learn something along the way. There are times in our life when we cannot just run from problems but just run at them and embrace them. Sometimes we just have to put the full weight of our existence into a struggle and ask, "What am I supposed to learn from this?". If we don't learn something from our experiences then what is the point of them? This is most definitely one of those times of learning and my head is absolutely swimming from things that I can learn. I am learning from Nicole to be strong and determined. I am learning from Wendy to be compassionate, empathetic, self-sacrificing, and an everyday super-hero. I am learning from the vast host of people that have contributed and helped us that sometimes you have to get off the side-lines and get involved in the lives of people that you may not even know that well. Sometimes you have to take a chance and go out on a limb with your emotions. I have learned from the news media that people still do want to read and watch positive, up-lifting stories. It has taught me faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. It has taught me that God continues to be faithful in life despite my oft unfaithfulness. Should I go on? The moral is, throw your head back and embrace what today is giving you and learn from it. What does God have for me today because tomorrow has enough troubles of it's own. I believe that is the way Jesus would have us think about it.
In the meantime, what are the struggles today. Nicole has been improving rapidly, as we had hoped and prayed. Praise God!! However, Wendy is going through some struggles. Her diaphragm may have been bruised in the surgery and it is causing her some breathing problems. Her nausea and dizziness have persisted to some degree as well. They are giving her some medicine to reduce the inflammation and hopefully that will make deep breathing easier. Pray that she recovers from this quickly. This is one of those times that it is difficult to be a recipient or the parent of a recipient. If I were king for a day I would wave my wand and Wendy would be instantly recovered and on her way home. That seems the fair and just response. But, as you all know, I am not king. I am just the dad of a beautiful 8 year old that received an amazing gift from an amazing woman. So turn your requests to the real King Jesus and ask for his blessing of recovery upon Wendy and what she is struggling with today.
Regardless, may Nicole, Wendy, Stu, Titia, and even you as you read this blog embrace today for what it has and learn what the lesson is. Once learned, you will be wiser for the wear and more useful for God's purposes in your life.
For His Glory,
P.S. One final note, one great benefit from all of this is that I am getting to know Stu Killian better. He is just my type of friend...a strong, speak your mind, type of guy. No political correctness with Stu. I like that and respect that. I guess that is what you get with an retired military guy. When asked what he thinks about Wendy giving a kidney his typical response is "Wouldn't you do the same thing?". In Stu's mind, there is the right thing to do and there is the wrong thing to do. This is the right thing to do in his mind. I am proud to call this man a new friend of mine!!