Last weekend my cousin’s wife Julie, a mother of twin boys who has suffered from cystic fibrosis her entire life and who was told by doctors months ago she needed a double-lung transplant if her life would continue, was informed her transplant team had found a donor match.
Photo: Visiting Julie & David Hendrickson
Julie was coincidentally celebrating her birthday with friends during dinner when she received a phone call informing her of the good news. She only had only a couple of hours to get to the hospital.Later that evening, surgeons successfully removed her damaged lungs and replaced them with donor organs, thus granting her renewed life and an opportunity to raise her sons for a season.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, in a quiet and peaceful basement apartment, I visited my close friend Holly who receives hospice care; having been denied the opportunity to receive a donor heart because of complications associated with her other organs.
Photo: Visiting with Quintin & Holly
She and her husband are in a standstill knowing it won’t be long before they are separated physically from each other for a season.
From my personal perspective, it is because of our deep love and connection to family and friends that we don’t want to say goodbye. It is too painful. I’ve known strong men whose intense grief has caused them to lie in bed in the fetal position because of the anguish. Losing a loved one makes a person feel amputated.
While some witness a renewal of life, others see a loved one slowly slip away to the next stage of existence. I often wonder why everyone can’t be healed. Where is their miracle? When I begin to get frustrated and angry because of such thoughts, I direct my mind to the very purpose of our time here on earth as defined by my faith in Jesus Christ. I believe one of the greatest gifts we have received from our Creator is time. It’s our inheritance. What we do with time affects generations.
I should warn you that I'm going to get deeper into this subject. Now's the time to visit another blog if you don't like religion.
I find comfort in knowing there is an omniscient loving Father in Heaven who is keenly aware of each of us and our personal trials and will not allow his children to die before their appointed time. God, after all, is omniscient. This means He knows everything.
My hero, Neal A. Maxwell wrote, "God knows even now what the future holds for each of us. In one of his revelations these startling words appear, as with so many revelations that are too big, I suppose, for us to manage fully: "In the presence of God, . . . all things . . . are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord" (D&C 130:7). The future "you" is before him now. He knows what it is he wishes to bring to pass in your life. He knows the kind of remodeling in your life and in mine that he wishes to achieve. Now, this will require us to believe in that divine design and at times to accept the truth that his suffering would be "but a small moment" (D&C 121:7).
Job, who suffered beyond comprehension recorded in the Bible “For I know that thou will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.” He’s talking about going from this life to another. He’s talking about an appointed death. Do we really have an appointment with death? As the prophet Alma said, “It was appointed unto men that they must die. “ (Alma 12:27)
The ironies of life began in the Garden of Eden where our first parents were given a choice. The prophet Moses taught that in the beginning, God, our mysterious Father in Heaven, told our first parents Adam and Eve, to multiply and replenish the earth. However, he also told them not to partake of the forbidden fruit placed in the middle of the Garden of Eden, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Why would God ask them to do two things that completely contradict each other? It is my personal opinion that Eve chose to partake of the fruit and encouraged her husband to do the same because she loved the Lord Jesus Christ who the devil impersonated in the garden as a serpent and offered her the forbidden fruit.
In scripture, the serpent is both a symbol of God and the Devil. In the allegory of the Garden of Eden the serpent symbolized Christ. Remember, Moses also used the symbol of a brass serpent to represent God as he brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Those who looked to the serpent were saved in the wilderness. Moses wrote Genesis at first told the story of Adam and Eve.
Artwork: Moses with the brazen serpent on the Tau or T-cross
In Eve's innocence she was deceived because she would do anything God asked her to do. I also believe Eve came to understand that Heavenly Father was introducing the powerful principle of choice and agency to mankind.
I believe there are those in life who choose to act, and those to wait to be acted upon. Adam and Eve acted and brought forth children to enjoy all of the blessings of a natural world. However, because they partook of the forbidden fruit they became mortal and inherited the power to die. All of their posterity, including you and me, has that same power. Its part of a much larger plan of our Heavenly Father to give us bodies, allow us an opportunity to learn and grow from living in this natural world, and bring us back into His presence. "And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and served God." (Alma 42: 4)
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)
“Behold he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because of the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is temporal death.” (Mormon 9:13)
"Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise a state of rest, a state of peace where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." (Alma 40:11-12)
“And when ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father have taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:28-29)
"Behold, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed." (Alma 40:3-4)
Those who love and adore Holly find it hard to say goodbye, but because of God's beautiful plan of redemption, she will move on and it won't be long before it's our turn to go forward where we will be reunited with our friend.
Once again, I realize this is heavy doctrine, but I firmly believe with every irony in life one can look to the teachings of Jesus for answers. In His teachings, I have found great comfort and understanding about the role of suffering in God’s eternal plan.
Read Dave & Julie's blog http://www.lungsforjulie.com