Tuesday, December 04, 2007
A Gift We all get Christmas Morning!
Most of us are getting the same present Christmas morning.
Ipods? Nope. Socks and underwear. Thankfully, no. How about a brand new fruit cake? (Okay, maybe not brand new.) The answer again is no.
What do each of us get to have on Christmas morning? The ability to breathe!
I am not trying to be annoying clever; I am actually grateful for this extraordinary gift.
It started a few months ago.
In the middle of the night, Noah woke me up.
“Mommy, I think I need a puff.” He was gasping and I jumped to my feet.
We used the inhaler and he settled down, only to need it again a couple hours later. Off we went to the doctor. He told us that Noah needed a proactive treatment approach to his asthma using steroids, a nebulizer, inhaler and a peak flow monitor. The doctor also signed up Noah to the Denver Asthma Registry.
So began our long term journey to get my son’s asthma under control. We have created a rhythm of breathing tests and treatments, keeping all the results on charts so that Noah can have a full and active life breathing.
How many times a day do you think about breathing? Probably not many, if any at all. Taking air into the lungs and releasing it into the atmosphere is one of those wonderful little gifts God gives that most of us take for granted.
I thank God today for the gift of breathing. Not only has my son’s experience shown me the importance of lung function, but Brandy Fiske’s as well.
Brandy is a nineteen-year-old girl living in San Diego. I’ve never met her, but in the pictures I’ve looked at I’ve seen a young lady of hope and joy. But Brandy has Cystic Fibrosis which has manifested into a condition in which she can’t breathe normally. Oxygen tubes and tanks were her constant companions…at least until last month.
Joey Borgogna is a twenty-seven year old actor and creative artist. I taught high school drama for a while and Joey was one of my students. Throughout the years, Joey and I have become great friends. He emailed me a while back telling me that he had met a young girl named Brandy who needed a lung transplantation. The operation involved two donors giving up part of the lobes of their lungs to be put into Brandy’s body, therefore helping her breathe. He and his dad Mike had decided to be the donors.
August 23rd was the date. I began praying daily.
August 23rd came and the operation was cancelled. Mike, Joey’s dad, wasn’t given the go ahead medically. Disappointment fell on everyone concerned. Joey emailed a group of us again, asking for continued prayers.
I forwarded his prayer request on to a whole bunch of folks.
Enter Laura Engelberg, a fifty-ish mom and grandmom and my former vice principal. She knew Joey but didn’t know about the situation. When she got my forwarded email, the Spirit of God started talking to her. Laura, being Laura, (an incredible gal) got in touch with Joey and said she wanted to be the new donor.
Once again I, and so many other believers, began praying.
November 5th, Brandy, Joey and Laura all went under the knife. The result: Joey and Laura are in the midst of six weeks of recovery but are expected to live full lives of breathing, not even noticing some of their lobes are missing.
And Brandy? She walked a mile in the hospital for the first time in her
nineteen years of life.
I have wanted to write about this for a while, but I didn’t know how to put the value of what happened in words. I love words and the power of them, but I kept putting off using them because they didn’t seem to capture the essence of such an incredible event.
What a gift Joey and Laura gave! What an act of pure kindness. A true present that is better anything anyone might find in a Christmas sale.
As you read this, right now, take a breath, a deep one and give thanks. Brandy got what she wanted for Christmas, better than an Ipod or a new DVD. And in her gift and in Joey and Laura’s act of giving, you and I can receive as well. Gratitude for an involuntary act can open our eyes to the joy of the precious little things in life. When I watch Noah breathing normally, running and playing, I am so thankful. He is a gift. His lungs are a gift.
On Christmas morning this year, try to remember to breathe. Hey wait, you won’t have to will you? So try instead to thank the Giver of Life for this wonderful present! Joy will run through your heart when you take a moment for gratitude.
If you want to give a little money to help out Brandy’s family, please visit her website at www.brandyfiske.com
The picture above is Joey and Brandy in the hospital.