Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain
My daughter Liza opened the passenger side door and jumped in the car. I had just picked her up from Art class. She was between eighth and ninth grade, so the class was one of her summer activities to fill her school-free days. A bright blue sky was above us, showcased through the wide-open sunroof. Being Minnesotans, our brutal winters enhanced our perspective—so we fully appreciated these sunny July days. We were well aware that beautiful days were a gift.
The music from the radio was interrupted with an abrupt buzz. My Bluetooth setting allowed the incoming call to cut the song, and Liza and I both saw the name flash on the digital dashboard.
Green neon letters lit up on the charcoal screen in front of us. Transplant Clinic.
I whipped my head and looked at Liza,
“Oh my God.” slipped out of my mouth, and then I froze.
I was on the list to receive a kidney transplant. Could this be the call we had been waiting for? I wondered.
“Answer it!” she said with urgency.
“Hi Jennifer, it’s Mary from Transplant. We may have a match for you. The preliminary testing is favorable.”
“Wow…really? I can’t believe it.” I said to her with astonishment.
The wait had seemed endless until this one fantastic moment. I found myself hearing Mary’s words without being able to fully grasp what she was saying. It seemed unreal. Could this truly be happening? I hoped I wouldn’t wake up from a dream.
It was not a dream.
This was happening.
Liza started dancing in her seat, and her smile was electric.
Mary proceeded to tell me that an anonymous donor from North Dakota volunteered to donate his kidney.
His donation was altruistic, meaning he wasn’t directing his donation in exchange for a loved one to receive a kidney from someone else. He simply walked into that transplant clinic one day and offered his kidney out of the goodness of his heart.
He was twenty-five years old.
“It is a really good kidney.” Mary continued. “He has been thinking about doing this for a while.”
“He’s twenty-five! How long could he have been thinking about it?” I said with wonder and awe and explosive gratitude.
Mary and I discussed the next steps, concluded the call, and the music started up again.
Macy Gray’s “There is Beauty in the World” pumped through the car speakers. At this point, I joined Liza in her car dance. Together we swayed side-by-side in our seats and sang along with Macy’s raspy voice. Our arms were flailing, and our hearts were full. I was overcome with an impossible-to-articulate-joy knowing that a total stranger in this world was willing to improve our lives so significantly.
I will never forget that moment. Gratitude was oozing from my pores.
The world’s trampoline had bounced us into the air, and we flew high into the elevated space above it all, where everything looked gloriously interconnected and magnificent. I felt attached to a universal good that was rushing like a river of combined currents of genuine kindness, chronic hope, compassion, Karma, and faith.
Recipients cannot meet their donors, but letters can be written and delivered through the transplant clinics. Although I won’t ever meet this man, I was allowed to put words of thanks on a note. Words on paper? How could I possibly define my expansive feelings with simple words? Thank you?
I have never met you, but of this I am sure—you are a hero. I am overflowing with gratitude because the world for my family and me is changed dramatically because of your generous spirit.
Thank you for all the good health and time you are giving to my family and me. How does one quantify the value of your gift? It is impossible to measure. The gift of time. The gift of travel. The gift of enjoying what I eat and drink. The gift of energy. The gift of eliminating the wear and tear on my body and soul from five to six life-sustaining dialysis treatments a week.
How can I possibly thank you for something so overwhelming? You gave me the gift of easy laughter and happy days.
I so wish I could adequately convey our gratitude—but in several attempts, I realize words cannot express my emotion and thankfulness. You are a remarkable person, and the world will forever be a better, brighter place because of you.
All the best to you and your family,
The letter, sentences, and paragraphs seemed inadequate, but I had to try. Like the beautiful Minnesota days we cherish after cold winters, my donor melted away the hard season we were enduring.
That was five years ago, and his gift continues to impart the sweetest possible fragrance that floats above our newfound blooms.
He has most definitely illuminated for my family and me; there is beauty in the world.