For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us -- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another."
~ 1 John 3: 11,16
About a month ago I spent time with a family who was very unique. They were joined together by a heart. The heart of a son who had been killed in a car wreck. His heart had been donated to a woman who desperately needed the heart to live. The donation brought the opportunity for the woman to live a very full life for seventeen years.
In that time, the woman had married and had two children. The woman had also met and became friends with the heart donor's family. In fact, her first child, a son, was named after man whose heart she now lived with daily.
About a year ago the woman learned that she had a rare form of cancer, and that there was really no treatment. Realizing this, she decided to live out her life to the fullest. Along with her on this journey was the mother of the man whose heart she now had.
As we sat and talked, with both her mom and the donor's mom present, I listened to a beautiful story of hope and of perseverance, but mostly a story about love.
"I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful daughter," the donor's mother shared, holding the hand of the woman. "I can still feel my son with each beat of his heart, but I have to admit, this journey, this sickness, has been like losing him all over again. Only this time, there is so much more going on. There are children to think about, a husband, and another mother and father who are losing a daughter."
Our understanding of laying our life down for others comes to us in many ways. Many may begin to think of words such as "surrender" or "acceptance" when it comes to laying our life down for others. It really is about wholly being available to others, but mostly being available to God.
"I would have never have thought my life would be so fully blessed on the night that we lost our son, but it was. We realized that his life was meant for a greater purpose after the car wreck. It was meant to be a way for others to have a better life."
So often when we think of laying down our life for others we think of what will be lost. To these women, they completely understood what had been gained.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.