Choose Life

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that you and your children may live. Deut 30:19

Sometime recently a family walked the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I can imagine them learning to navigate the corridors of the Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital.

Maybe the bedside vigil was long and exhausting and stretched out for days and weeks. And maybe not.

I imagine that there was incredible compassion in the medical professional’s face as they broached the dreaded discussion. In the face of death-what would they choose?

My mind’s eye can easily capture the scene as the family holds a brief discussion- wouldn’t that be what they would want? Yes, this is the right decision. Tears flow freely and splash on the paper, blurring the ink, as they sign consent forms.

And as the monitors silence, they release their loved one from a stricken body. Their hearts break as they say good-bye to their future plans- the anticipated family vacation, work appointments, weekend fun.

But in the midst of their heartache-they have peace. They choose life.

* * * * *

I don’t remember when it first showed up, but my sweet, loose-jointed sister Emily has been dealing with a bum knee for awhile now.

She scheduled an appointment with the surgeon who had worked on her 12 years ago when she was 12, and was really disappointed when he looked at her MRIs and said “Wow, your knee is awful, you need a knee replacement-come back when you’re 40!”

Sixteen years seems like a long time when your knee is so unstable, that it gives out unexpectedly and dumps you-in a crumpled heap on the floor.

Thankfully a second opinion came up with a game plan, and we felt both relief and apprehension as the big day approached.

* * * * *

I could hardly wait to get home the night of Em’s surgery. First stop was our sunroom that had been transformed into “recovery area”.

My sweet sister looked like she’d been through the mill. And she had. She handed me a small card without saying a word.

Dear Patient,

Your recent surgery included the use of:a gift of donated bone, heart or connective tissue. This would not be possible without the final act of generosity and kindness of donors and the support of their families. The decision to donate, whether made by the donors or their family was done in the hope of helping others in need. Most families never learn the difference their gifts have made to recipients like you.

You can change that.

I looked at the mysterious serial number and wondered who had made such a sacrifice for her-for me.

Em has been recipient of so many thoughtful gifts

There’s so many things I’m looking forward to: Emily climbing the ladder to the combine, enjoying the AC, and a break from grain cart operating; hiking along the shore enjoying a morning sunrise; watching her run down the walk, hop in her car, and praying for whoever is in trouble-as her tail lights disappear into the darkness-as she hurries off to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

So many things to look forward to. Because that family chose life.

I’m praying for the donors family-that God will comfort them today. I would love a chance to thank them personally.

And maybe they can find some peace- turning grief to grace-knowing how they’ve impacted my world.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Cor 15:55.

And should this nightmare ever visit my family, I hope that the decision comes easy. Yes, please! Choose life.



Bonus Pics:

Em’s get well cheerleading committee in all their autumn splendor 😍

3 thoughts on “Choose Life

  1. This is so touching! Thanks for sharing. I just had knee replacement surgery( I’m over 40 haha) so I’m with Emily in recovery time😩
    Mine is metal and hers was a living replacement a
    A gift!
    Yes life!! We always need to choose what God has provided.
    Great aunt Carolyn

  2. Thanks Kendra, this is beautiful. Those who let their loved ones go need support and encouragement. Yes choose life! All the best as Em recovers.

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