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….