A Divine Meeting

Each new day I am challenged to open my mind and my heart to what God has planned for me. Fear dominates a lot of my waking moments. Yet I remind myself to be still… and open my heart to God’s grace.

A little over two years ago, two families from different states were enduring life threatening hardships with their children that were beyond comprehension. Our 8 year old, Tommy was entering his 13th month on the heart transplant waiting list and his native heart was in very bad shape. He had a med bag attached to him 24/7 which was keeping him ‘going’ while he waited and endured many negative side effects of congestive heart failure everyday. Hope was fading, but still present as we prayed for our miracle.

750 miles away, 5 year old Audrey was in the hospital for surgery and later developed a complication of meningitis which could not be reversed. Her family was given the very difficult news and then asked if they would consider donating her organs to save other lives. In those dark hours, they chose to say ‘yes’, and the amazing process of organ donation began in Michigan and in Minnesota.

Words could never express our gratitude for this life-saving gift Tommy received. I attempted writing our donor family a letter several times in late 2009. Finally it was sent around Christmas time, along with a card at the 1 year mark telling them they were in our thoughts and prayers. Exactly one year ago we received another ‘gift’ in the mail,…a reply letter from Tommy’s donor family. This was emotional to read but so wonderful to learn about Audrey & their family. Over the last year, Audrey’s mom, Krista and I have been emailing and connecting, little by little. We both knew we wanted to meet someday (& Tommy did too). Most importantly, I believe it’s part of God’s plan for us to meet, and He is orchestrating every detail (with Audrey by His side, I’m sure).

The sequence of events that have led up to meeting this weekend are, in my opinion, divine. In the midst of all the ‘what ifs?’ or ‘should we’s?’ that have come to my mind, piece by piece it has become pretty clear that God has His hand directly in this part of the journey too. I will briefly re-count it…

It started by selecting a date & the weekend of August 26th looked feasible on our summer calendar. When I asked Krista if that was a good date for them, she told me it’s the weekend of Audrey’s birthday. This Sunday, August 28th, Audrey would have turned 8 years old. She then went on to say that she couldn’t think of a better way to spend that day then by meeting the family and the little boy that received their daughter’s heart. Wow. Next, we decided that we would like to do something fun with our kids and Audrey’s older brothers. Of course, my boys love baseball and immediately suggested a visit to Target Field to see the Minnesota Twins play. When I looked on the schedule I was shocked to see that the Detroit Tigers would be in town playing the Twins August 26-28. Really? Okay… Lastly, we needed to get tickets to a game and through some special connections I was asked if we would be willing to attend Friday nights game as it ‘just so happens to be’ their organ donation promotion game. Oh…okay…seriously?!

In addition, for those of you who know about Tommy’s special gift and connection to Detroit Tigers’, Brandon Inge, (who visited him in the hospital 2 weeks after transplant & asked Tommy to sign his arm & then went on to hit a homerun for him in that nights game), well Tommy was a little bummed that he wouldn’t be in Minneapolis this weekend because he was sent down to the minor league. However, we found out last Friday that Brandon Inge ‘just so happened’ to get moved back up to the Tigers and will now be in Minneapolis this weekend. Hmmmm.

Coincidences? Stars aligning? Signs?

I say, a “God thing”. A rather Divine Meeting. And maybe, just maybe… the result of having, ‘open hearts’?

The story and the journey continues….

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19 thoughts on “A Divine Meeting

  1. As I sit here reading this ” ack of God” It brings tears to my eyes. I recall taking so long to write a letter to the doner Mom. When I started to write this letter.there was so much emotion , from time to time my hands just couldn’t write what my mind wanted. It took me close to two years to complete. Unless you are the one geting the” Gift Of God” your thoughts, tears are so much different than the people that help you will never know the joy that goes through your sole. I’ve had 16 years of this joy and I’ve shared it with as many as I could. Be a donor. Help others enjoy this joy I’ve had. You just get to meet God just a little closer than you ever may have thought God bless all the donors, the medical staff and all who help in this devine event. I can only think that all the Folks listed above are very grateful and pray every day for the folks of the donor.. I know I do….heart transplant Oct. 1995

  2. What an amazing story. God works in an incredible way! Have a blessed weekend. I am glad Tommy will see Brandon Inge when he is at Target Field.

  3. As a friend of the Dean’s, I’ve been following Tommy’s journey as well. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. What a beautiful story.

  4. Oh MY GOD!!!! i just know Audrey was such a busy, know-it-all little girl, she probaly said god this is the plan let’s make it happen! Here we are Anxious for our weekend with the shoemakers!!!! Can’t wait to tell all about our weekend! Happy Birthday Audrey! We miss you dearly, and thanks for yours and Gods planning!!!!!

  5. Colleen, I am in tears from reading this. Divine meeting is so true as everything has lined up perfectly for this meeting. I will be praying for both families as you meet and spend time together. How very special Not many people get to meet their donor families and I am so happy for you. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  6. What a remarkable chain of events. I am sure the entire weekend will be a blessing to everyone involved. When my 15 yr old went for his driver’s permit, I said, “you’re going to be an organ donor right?” He was a little uncomfortable about it until I explained that one of his friends – a former daycare kid of mine – wouldn’t be alive without someone giving him a heart. He signed up!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! I love to hear the stories of God at work in ways we may not even know or see. God bless your weekend together.

  8. Colleen: Our Lord Is “So Great” And Continues To Provide The Grace That We All Need, Just As He Has Planned Out Your Whole “Donor Family Weekend”. When Brandon Was Sent Down, I Mentioned In Care Pages To You & Tommy That He Would Be Back In The Majors As The Lord Was Not Through With Him And The Work He Has Done With The Children, And Brandon Has Been A Part Of My Prayers. May The Lord Bless You, Tommy, Audrey’s Family, And Especially This Blessed Week-end. Love, Dr. Dana

  9. Oh, Colleen…

    This is just breath-taking. Divine is the best word you could have used. I wish you safe travels and what I know will be an emotional and memorable weekend for all of you. Please give an extra hug to Audrey’s family from all of us who love Tommy so much. Their gift is just
    beyond comprehension.

    I predict Brandon will hit a home run for all of you!!.


  11. That is truly Divine intervention. May you have safe travels.. Have a wonderful time and give glory to God for His gifts to us.

  12. Actually this was exactly what I needed to read today. This lifts me up and I’ll be thinking of you all weekend. Please give her family great big Lindsay hugs from us too.
    This is truely devine!!!

  13. Having a hard time holding back the tears! My daughter and I still pray for Audrey’s family everynight (and then we include all donor families too). I’ve been saying it for years and it’s totally true: GOD ROCKS!

  14. Wow!! Maybe I should not have read this at work as I sit at my desk in tears and now need to explain myself. GODS amazing hand in things never stop amazing me. Colleen thank you so much for sharing with all of us. Our family will pray for safe travel for the entire family. I know God will wrap his tender arms around all of you this weekend.

  15. Wow. Those are amazing circumstances. Prayers for safe travel and God’s presence during this very emotional meeting! We love you!