Sometime this past Sunday, someone, in some unknown way, died. At some point prior to Sunday he or she signed the organ donation section of their drivers license and within hours their lungs became my friend Ann’s lungs. I went to sleep Sunday evening unaware. I woke up Monday morning with the news I’d wondered about each time an email came through, a text vibrated or my phone rang.
In the days and months prior to Sunday, this donor had been receiving the blessings of so many people. The donors grateful recipient had instructed us all to greet each person we met with the awareness that they could be her donor. She asked us to send everyone we could find blessings of love and kindness and to wish for them that each moment they had remaining be filled with love and grace and joy and the abundant blessings of the God of their understanding. For nearly every moment Ann was on that waiting list she transformed her suffering into a steadfast commitment to love more fiercely, be more grateful and extend blessings to everyone.
I’ve told you about Ann’s story. It’s remarkable in a thousand ways. This grace filled chapter of her life bears complete resemblance to her entire life, a simple continuation of how and who she’s always been.
She wrestled with the choice of receiving new lungs for a long time. It’s our shared human experience to question our purpose, to measure our value and not see what others so clearly see in us. When she chose to live, it boiled down to a simple realization; she had more love to give the world. More hurts to mend. More grace to extend. More joy to share. If she was with me now I suspect she might add, “more asses to kick” because she’s a fighter for nobility like few I’ve come across and dedicated her entire life to fierce advocacy.
Ann’s on my mind most minutes now. My thoughts narrow to how simple this all has been, what it all boiled down to. In the end, after all the drama and pain and joy and deliberation, after all the tears and fears and moments of extraordinary hardship, these two people became one because of two simple choices. Each in their own ways came to the realization that we are all literally each other, connected, connectable, interdependent. That we all live downstream from one another.
The choices are so clear, so simple, so significant. To live and to share.