Sheriff Sarah

Sheriff Sarah

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Financial Incentives for Organ Donors?

There was an interesting discussion the other day in one of the online groups I follow. Due to the dire situation in our country of not finding enough organ donors, the issue was raised about whether we should begin offering compensation to encourage organ donation. I see this question as being primarily posed to potential living donors. Personally, this becomes a very gray area to me. And it opens a huge can of worms.

If we remove the altruistic reason for donation, do we really want to walk the road to where money talks? That's the case in so much of our society already, including donating blood. How much will this harm the entire case for organ donation? I can see it now: "Need some extra money? Consider donating a kidney for $XXX today!"

What are your thoughts about offering people money so they will donate a kidney or part of their liver? Do you see anything wrong with it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Life Well-Spent

It’s been one of those weeks. On top of it being Memorial Day weekend, I’ve heard just enough heartbreaking news to get me thinking about life.  Our culture is so fearful of death, we tend to ignore it completely until it strikes close to us. But do we really ignore it or do we just avoid it? Life is brief, a vapor, a blade of grass, in comparison to eternity. We have no control over when it ends.  I expect that’s why so many people choose to deny it’s presence.

We like to believe we’re in control of our lives but we’re not. We can’t control a disease for which there is no cure, or a drunk driver from snuffing out young, innocent lives. I remember reading the story of a man who recalled spending some precious time with one of his daughters when he could have said, “wait until later, I’m busy right now.” In a matter of days the family’s van was caught in a flash flood. The father was sucked out an open window and swept away. He survived but his wife and children died. Do you think he treasured that memory of time spent with his daughter? What if he had decided he was too busy to take time out?

People in the United States are some of the most narcissistic in the entire world. We’re so consumed with “me, me, me” that no matter how much we talk about loving our families and friends, the fruit is in our actions and what we deem important.  Our lives are far too short to waste on trivial things. They’re too brief to turn down the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with a loved one or friend instead of pursuing some vain interest.

We all have opportunities to impact lives for the future, whether it be our children, our spouses, friends, and even strangers. We leave no legacy in how many video games we played, sporting events we attended or movies we watched. Our legacy will be found in how we impacted those closest to us.  We’ll be remembered for how we spent our lives and the example it leaves for those who follow us. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Those Years

Time waits for no man, is the old saying. It's certainly the case for me. Today I turn 45 and honestly, I'm not sure where the last half of my life has gone. When people say your life is a set of seasons, I tend to agree with the sentiment.

Since I left the US Navy in the early 1990s, I've experienced several distinct "seasons": a wandering time; a settling down; and a questioning time. The first two seem obvious enough and most people have experienced those in their own lives. For me the wandering time was a tough one. I'd gone from the security of the military into a recession and job uncertainty (sound familiar?). It was years until I found steady employment and that followed a move to another state.

The settling time followed when I met and dated my wife, Patty. We got married and now have four beautiful children. During this time I set my writing aside for family. I'd always believed writing would be a major part of my life since it had been foundational for me, carrying me through difficult stretches in the past. As it turned out, I never gave up writing, it just lay dormant for a time. After I started college, I realized writing did have a place in my life and I haven't looked back since. So it was a win-win: marriage & kids, and the revival of my writing.

Finally comes the questioning time. Maybe for you it's wondering what you're going to do with your life, or have you been a success in the eyes of your parents and friends. Perhaps it's whether you lived up to your expectations or promise. I still grappled with what I wanted to be when I grew up but that paled in comparison to the world of liver disease. That's when the questions became fast and furious: why did this happen now, with our fourth child? How can we keep our family together when we're physically separated? Will the older children be okay? Will our marriage survive the strain? I know those of you who've experienced liver disease have asked some or all of these same questions. There are no "right" answers. It's a matter of survival and faith.

So on this occasion of my 45th birthday, I urge you to recall the seasons of your life. Review what you've done well, maybe not so well and what you wish you'd done differently. But then do me a favor - close the book, don't look back again. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and make those current seasons count.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Stones" of Remembrance

I've been neglecting this blog far too often and I apologize to my faithful readers - all two of you. :-)

Seriously, this is a post I've been wanting to write for some time. Not long after Sarah received her liver transplant in April 2009, I started considering all the positive influences we'd witnessed as a family during our stressful days leading up to it. Despite our circumstances and struggles, God made Himself evident to us throughout our journey. To commemorate His faithfulness, I'd like to look at our "stones" of remembrance - those people, things and events that made our lives bearable during Sarah's original diagnosis all the way through transplant.

- Friends: We would have been nowhere without our dearest friends. People who sacrificed their time and own comfort to meet with Patty at Children's and who even stayed with her over many nights; our kids' "aunties and uncles" who made themselves present when Patty couldn't be with the kids. The friends who checked in on us, faithfully prayed for us and lifted us up when we stood on the edge of a breakdown.

- The Body of Christ: Never before in my life have I witnessed the impact of the Body quite like I did in the midst of our ordeal. Facebook became a soothing balm and vessel for people from all over the world to share our adventure, and their prayers. Many people we've still never met in person but their faithfulness and love to people they didn't know is forever etched on my heart. Gifts, food, a showering of love - all of these were evident from so many people, it's still difficult for me to conceive. The love of Christ was clear and present.

- Family: Our children may never understand just how instrumental their grandparents were in relieving some of the pain and uncertainty that could have shadowed their lives had the older generation not been present. Why my parents bought a house much bigger than they needed was a mystery - until Sarah's diagnosis. How  the Walkers and Krafts always made room for our kids, concerned only with providing memories and stability, will forever be a blessing to us.

- Hope: At the end of each day, realizing we weren't on this journey alone and that it wouldn't last forever, hope stood reaching out to us. The hope and promise of a different future, but a future nonetheless.

- Peace: Even in the turmoil of 52 out of 61 straight days at Children's did not completely remove God's peace from our hearts and minds. Some times I'm certain we didn't even really know where that peace came from, or how we could keep standing.

Was every day perfect? No. Did we struggle a lot? Yes. In hindsight, are we grateful for the experience? I'd have to answer, yes. The people who impacted our lives and whom we've met or had the chance to positively influence has been worth the pain. You never believe that when you're riding the tidal wave of pain and uncertainty. It's only much later that you can look back and view things with clear vision, understanding that every thing does happen for a purpose.