On St. Valentine's Day 2005—a year after I had recovered from a live-donor kidney transplant, my husband and I received a unique gift: my pancreas transplant!
I have written before that Ed and I met when he offered to give this blind woman a ride to a church group; we clicked, and became wonderful friends. It was good not to have any of the pressures of dating in our relationship, but tentatively, after about a year, we tip-toed into a romance.
Then, Ed was offered a promotion, which meant his moving to Arizona. I wasn't ready to commit. It wouldn't be fair to him, or to me and my son to do something I wasn't ready for, but I didn't want to stand in Ed's way. I just thought it wasn't meant to be. We parted as friends, but it wasn't easy.
I called him in Arizona to wish him a happy 30th birthday. We ended up talking for three hours! In the middle of that conversation he said something I will never forget: "I have been thinking a lot about you, and I just wanted you to know that even if all you want to be is friends, I will always be here for you, and I will always love you." When I got off the phone, I asked myself, "Marcia, what are you so afraid of? This is the real deal."
It wasn't that I didn't care for Ed, or believe in him, but I was afraid of the thing I wanted the most because of what I had been through before. I was stuck in the past.
In Isaiah 43: 18-19 the Lord says,
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
In prayer I took this to be the Lord, telling me to trust him, and not to miss the new and wonderful thing He wanted to do in my life. He wanted to make a pathway for me to leave my desert.
Ed and I decided that I would fly out to Arizona so that we could talk in person. By the time I finally went, I knew that I loved him, and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.
My husband has lived up to what he promised in that phone conversation. He has had much to deal with concerning my health, but he has always been there for me, and in return I am always there for him as well.
In 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Paul writes, "...[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. For love never fails."
The pancreas transplant opened up a whole new life for us. Ed was so excited he wrote an open letter to me for our wedding anniversary, on his then-blog, while I was still in the hospital.
Now, 6 years later—praise God—my pancreas transplant is still going strong; what a miracle it has been! Ed and I have had our share of challenges, and issues just like all married couples, but with the Lord's help and the sacramental grace of our marriage, we are able to work things out, together. I knew that Ed truly meant every word of his vows to me, as I did to him on our wedding day. "For better or worse; sickness or health; richer or poorer; until death will we part." When we took those vows we knew full well what they really meant, and we promised this to each other, and to God. With the transplant, God willing, we will have many more years to share.
Even when things are difficult; even when we have been hurt, and have been made vulnerable, even when what lies before us seems frightening and impossible, Behold! God makes all things new.
That is the open secret of faith.
We only need to trust - really trust with our whole hearts - where he leads.