The first time I saw my daddy cry was when I was eight years old. He was lying in his bed, exhausted, with a mask on his face and tubes connected to his body draining itself from toxins. Dialysis. This was not an uncommon practice in the McAfee household. Dialysis interrupted everything. A meal, a tradition, a Disney vacation, a camping trip. It disrupted any kind of “fun” we could ever have as a family. But, on this particular instance when I saw my dad at his lowest point I realized that what I had accept as the norm was not normal.
The tears were his sign of defeat knowing that he needed something more. With the kidney disease killing his body and the body becoming immune to dialysis (artificial process of eliminating waste from blood), he was reminded of his weakness.
It was going to take something strong to save him: a third, and new, kidney. After searching for the “perfect match” in our community while on the waiting list, dad found his match. Judy Venters became apart of our family on August 10, 2004 when she gave my dad exactly what he was looking for. The transplant process was long and tedious for the doctors, Judy, daddy, and the rest of us. But, it was worth the long ride. After his recovery he lived life to the fullest, even though we joked with him about being “part girl.” He competed in over 20 triathlons, raced in the Transplant Games in Louisville Kentucky, and became an avid rock climber.
This is when the Gospel “clicked” for me.
There are times in life when I feel dead, defeated, and ready to give up and my “dialysis” is no longer working for me. My mistakes that haunt me interrupt everything I do, anything I want to accomplish, any chance I have to turn my life around, any relationship I care to keep. That’s when I turn around and try to find that “thing” to fill my void, the whole in my heart [the medicine to replace the purposeless dialysis]. Those remedies differ for everyone but it comes to a point that all I really desire is an organ I’m missing from my life. Something that I cannot replace or find on my own. When I hear that there is an option to “save my life” I would be crazy not to take it. I have no idea what an incredibly abundant life I could be missing out on.
It takes someone else to give me what I don’t have: to give me the organ that I need to not only survive but tolive.
The only remedy for this dead life that one is living is Jesus because he has died and given so much so that we can have not only a full life on Earth but an eternal life with Him.
“The thief (daddy’s disease) has come to steal and to kill and to destroy. I (new organ/Jesus Christ) have come that they might have life, and that they might have it to the full.” John 10:10
Just like Judy saved my dad, Jesus saved me. He gave me the missing piece so that instead of maintainingmy lifestyle with happiness I can live with joy.
I came to the conclusion that I was dying inside. When I finally understood through my dad’s suffering that Jesus was even an option for me, I didn’t hesitate to take it.
After my dad’s transplant he still got sick with viruses and coughs but it still didn’t change the fact that he now hosted an organ that gives him strength to overcome the illness. There may be times that I mess up and do something that hurts me but in the end I know that I now have the power to ask for forgiveness and continue to live this freed life I have been given.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation; the old has past and the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17