Most days I am oblivious to the miracles occurring around me. Today my eyes are wide open. A miracle is in progress today for two families in our church.
Twenty years ago, Tommy Anderson had a heart transplant as a baby. The heart donor's family was able to see beyond its own tragic loss and respond with generosity and compassion. That heart continues to serve Tommy well, but the immuno-suppressant drugs he has taken since an infant are taking a toll on his kidneys. Tommy is home from college because he needs a new kidney.
Four years ago, little Henry Coulter received a heart transplant at 5 1/2 months old. Henry was born with a serious heart defect and had never left the hospital in Charleston where he was born. On the day of his transplant, Bird Anderson, Tommy's dad, drove to Charleston to be with Henry's parents, Jane and Carrington Coulter. Bird didn't know them well -- just as acquaintances at church -- but he knew well what it felt like to have your son undergo a heart transplant. The two families sustained a connection. For instance, Bird's wife, Virginia, learned to care for Henry so she could stay with him, and Tommy helped Carrington's aunt with a move.
After Henry's transplant, he was able to go home for the first time, to be bossed around by his twin sister, Lulie, licked by his family dogs, take a stroll through his neighborhood and sleep in his own bed. Sadly, Henry died suddenly at ten months old.
Jane and Carrington have always been deeply grateful for the family who gave Henry his heart and the chance to come home. When Jane heard that Tommy needed a kidney, she immediately asked how she could be tested to determine if she was a match for him.
Today Jane and Tommy are both undergoing surgery. Jane, 36, the mother of a four-year-old and two-year-old, is giving a kidney to Tommy. She does it because Tommy needs it, and to honor Henry, as well as the child and family who gave Henry his heart. She does it because she listened to the Bible stories her parents read her. She does it because the Holy Spirit has given her peace of mind and clarity of purpose in this matter. She does it because she knows what it is like to wait for another child to die so that your own child can live.
Jesus said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends," and Paul reminds us that "we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another." This scripture takes on flesh and bone today in an operating room. Join us in praying for Tommy and Jane. Join us as we witness God's love at work among us.
The doctors, hospital, and insurance company chose the date of Tommy and Jane's surgery. October 21 also happens to be the date that Henry received his heart transplant four years ago. Sometimes even God can't help but show off.
The photo above was taken in the hospital at 5:00 this morning before surgery.