Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A transformed universe

I am so excited I don't know what to do. Want to babble on to someone. Did that to Tom last night. He absorbs it. I'm surprised I slept - it was a near thing, getting to sleep. What happened -

After Zen, we were in the church hall, putting on shoes, just chatting, when a man came over to me. I know him a little; he did Zen orientation with us years ago. He and his wife are nice people, part of a large, loose social set we belong to. People who go to brunch after church. He said to me that his wife wants to give me a kidney. Of course, I burst into tears, overwhelmed by surprise.
I'm going to start over.

Last night I learned I may have a living donor. Someone who is interested in exploring the possibility. An unexpected person, not a relative or intimate friend, just exactly as they say - a person will come forward for you that you don't expect.

Why so excited? A kidney from a living donor is literally a gift of life, years of normal life, a much better life than most people have on dialysis. If I can only get a kidney from a nice, healthy person, that kidney could work for 20 more years; I could live 20 more years and work, that was my first thought. I so want to write, to get my writing out, and I don't have the energy. If I get a cadaveric kidney (if I get one instead of dying on the waiting list) the average life of that kidney would be 10 years. I could tell you a lot about all this, including the amazing fact that they usually take out the donated kidney with laparoscopy these days. But the facts are all online.

Also online are the stories. One of them was in our local newspaper last week, a kidney given by a woman to a man in her church, a man she didn't know until she read about his need and came forth. . . .
The possible donor - her name is Laura - just called me to ask where we start. Happily, I had my wits about me enough earlier this morning to call OSU pre-transplant and get the right phone number. Oh, I hope the menu doesn't give her the runaround. In my mind she shines like gold, should be treated like a queen.

Her husband was taken aback by my tearburst last night. He finally said, "Well, maybe I need to see if she really meant it." So this morning I have been trying to hold it and wait, which is like standing in tree pose on the head of a pin. Keeping to my morning routine, eating my usual breakfast, what you do when you get too excited. In a little while I will dress and go to the health club, it being Wednesday. Why not just sit with that excitement? There it is in this center that is neither heart nor stomach, I think. What is it? That golden chakra.

So many of the live donor stories these days are like this - a person comes forth you never would have expected to. Not someone you sit with, not a relative or someone you've given to, another kind of person, someone who understands how kidney failure is a matter of life and death, and has an altruistic streak - a desire to give a huge gift most people are not able to give.

Talk about the practice of generosity. Imagine opening your body like that. The old Zen stories sometimes talk about how the master has given his very marrow and guts, when they mean he has done his best to explain reality. But this really is a piece of your essence. Last night I told a friend, "I don't know if I could have done what she's doing, years ago, I was too neurotic." Afraid, and my mind would have skipped away from the thought.

I had an idea that the universe I find myself in was not loaded with generous people. Last night that transformed, as if there was a gloomy stage that suddenly became imbued with glittering golden light. It transformed an image deep in my mind of what kind of world this is, how life brings all kinds of things in the great river. I know somewhere Pema Chodron says, "Everybody loves something." And I think the nature of many people floating down the stream with us might be kinder than we think.
[image: the doorway at Benedicte, at Grailville retreat center, in evening light. If I get a kidney I will be able to go on retreat again.]


  1. Oh wow, wow. I am just beaming for you - how very wonderful! And thanks to you for being so generous with your words and spirit.

  2. What a wonderful gift! I am so happy for you, let us share your excitement so you won't spill over :D

    Thank you for saying there are generous people out there and that the world rights itself. I so need to believe it too.

  3. So, so happy! For you and Laurie both. What a wonderful world today!

  4. Karma, like a bank account: you get out what you put in... Best of luck and I hope everything works out for the best

  5. Best of luck, and I hope it works out.



  6. That's an amazing story! A great illustration of "you never know", as you point out. Good luck with this! We look forward to hearing the steps and Dharma along the way!

  7. You're in my intentions - Don

  8. Oh my gosh, I am late to this amazing party! Such wonderful news. So glad so glad for you. For Laura. For the world.