About 4 a.m. on April 16, 1995, our phone rang, waking us from a sound sleep. Since Ed was the manager of a 24/7 alarm call center at the time, this wasn't unusual; he always needed to be available, so the phone would often ring in the middle of the night.
But this time was different. I heard Ed say, "Hi Marnya!" with surprise in his voice. She was the transplant coordinator at St. Joseph's hospital in Orange County, California. My first thought was why was she calling at this hour? Then I woke up as though I had been doused with cold water; there was a transplant available, for me, and we needed to come up to the hospital to check in as soon as possible. I was instantly out of bed with nerves jangling. Ed packed some things while I took a very quick shower, and he called his dad to come to stay with our young son.
As we drove up to the hospital Ed said to me, "The sunrise is beautiful!" The sun was just coming up—it was sunrise on Easter Sunday morning! Tears sprang to my eyes as the significance of what Ed said struck me. It was as if the Lord was telling me not to be afraid, and that it was all going to be okay; He had everything in His hands, and it was Resurrection day!
I was nervous, excited, and filled with immense gratitude for this chance for a new life. Also running through my mind was the Easter connection between death and resurrection, and how personally it resonated with me. I was being given an opportunity to live, but at the cost of my anonymous donor's death. He was a 52-year-old who had died as the result of a motorcycle accident. That was the only information we were given. I prayed for this man, and his family; I knew that while my family was so happy for me to be able to regain health, his family was grieving over the loss of their loved one. To this day, I keep the memory of this man, and his family in my prayers. I don't know who he was, but God does. Through an organization that sends letters of thanksgiving to the families of donors, we were able to write a letter to express how grateful we were. However, it is so difficult to adequately express in words that sort of gratitude. I will never forget, or ever take his gift for granted.
This man gave me the chance for better physical health, but the Lord died for me giving me an opportunity for eternal life. By His death I was given a "soul transplant." 1 Peter 2:24 says, "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live for righteousness—by Whose stripes you were healed."
Every Easter holds special meaning of the gift of "new life" for me especially since that day. God gave His own son for my chance for eternal life—what a huge price.
Jesus said, "Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13). All of us have the chance for an eternal life "transplant" for our souls through the sacrifice of Christ. He laid down His life for every soul who receives His tremendous gift. To say that I am grateful is an understatement!
Every day we experience a beautiful sunrise, remember His death for us, and Resurrection, and let Him know how thankful we are. Never take that gift for granted—Happy Easter!
4/21/2011 4:00:00 AM