Once, l was saddened by the death of my friend; Chief Petty Officer Maurice Tuck.
This for me was unusual, because my military job taught me to control my emotions. Death in the military is inevitable, but the mission must continue. When I expressed my sadness, my good friend Will Johnson tried to console me by saying, “It’s ok to grieve….” and reminded me there was no “S” on my chest. Of course I made a remark, “But at least I have a Batman logo on it. “😊
So grief crept into my life again….This was when I was informed that dialysis was near. I was told I needed to attend a class instructing me what to expect from it… I thought, “Don’t they realize I was on dialysis for 3 1/2 years?! Don’t they know I have been transplanted for almost 18 years?! Why should I (who could teach the class) be forced to attend?” I fought it, but I had to go. Not happy.
Somewhere in life our kids, whom we taught, become our teachers and voice of reason. My son said; “Dad, maybe you need to go because someone needs to hear your expertise? Maybe, you can be a calming voice to a person about to go on this journey of uncertainty?” I wasn’t listening. I went to the meeting anyway. The nurse was going over what to expect and about what was needed to qualify to be placed on the transplant list. There were 10 people participating in the class and I was silent. Because of the hippacratic oath, the nurse could not tell the class of my previous experience. There were a few times she covertly tried to encourage my input, but I said nothing because I felt I didn’t belong there. Towards the end , my crusty angry heart started to melt and I spoke up. The nurse was shocked! I said, “Am I the only one here to have had a transplant?” I was. I then began to preach encouragement to the people attending the class. Telling them what they must do to beat the machine and to get healthier to qualify and receive a transplant. How they must fight and giving them insight on what they must do to stay healthy. I spoke for about 40 mins with everyone hanging on my every word, listening, and taking notes as if I was giving them instructions to an important project. Afterwards the nurse smiled and said “I was praying you would open up and speak. I can tell them….. but you have been there.”
As we were leaving, I was accosted by tears and thank yous. I was hugged and gave hugs in return. But the one thing that was said to me that shocked my spirit, was a young lady around 30 who was with her brother. She said to me with tears, “I came here not wanting to. My brother tricked me and drove me here. I wanted to give up thinking I could not do this. After hearing you, I now believe I can make it.” She hugged me and cried happy tears. I left and drove home. After arriving I cried uncontrollably in my car. I couldn’t stop. Once I gathered myself I entered my house where my son greeted me. “How did it go? “ he asked.
I explained what had happened as I was sitting on my bed. He told me that I must understand that God has put me in this place for a reason. That I had to attend the class not for me, but for others. That I have a calling, a duty to fulfill and I must do this with a dedication and passion. This is my calling………. He spoke no words of sadness for me. No words of agreement that I of all people should not be forced to attend these classes. But a voice of reason that reminds me that no matter how bad it gets. No matter how difficult it may seem, someone else is struggling more so than me and would love to be in my shoes. That to heal myself, I must heal others. This healing is not with medicine, but with words of encouragement from my experience. That I should not be angry for carrying the cross, but thankful I have the strength to do so.
It reminds me of a hymn we would sing in church when I was a child :
“Lord you don’t have to move my mountain but give me the strength to climb. And Lord don’t take away my stumbling blocks but lead me all around.”
No, you may not be Superman or have an “S” on your chest, but at least be thankful that you are Batman.