Today, November 28, 2016 my husband, Danny Bessette listed at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a double lung transplant. Although many years in the making, I can’t tell you how surreal this feels. We have stood in the roller coaster line wrestling with the anxiety of whether or not to ride for years. We have asked all the questions – what center to use? Who should be the doctor? Does Danny want to transplant or does he want hospice? And I can tell you none of these questions were easy…. not a single answer came without research and questions and fights and tears and prayers. I had another CF wife tell me once the decision to list was harder than the whole transplant. But the time came, the answers determined, and I have hit my knees in front of our Lord and begged for Him to take my deal – I will be faithful, if he will let me have my happy ending. And just like that, we boarded the roller coaster, buckled up and settled in for a new type of ride – beginning with the slow click, click, click as we climb to the top.
During this time of preparing and listing I have reflected on the many moments leading up to today. About three years ago Danny was ready – he wanted this thing over and done with and we wanted to just move on with our plans. But the answer then was no – its not time. Then I thought of this summer where in the dark of a hospital room, sometime around 3AM Danny’s hand reached over to mine and we wondered aloud about even starting this journey at all. A few months later the perfect timing arrived – Thanksgiving 2016. A time of year when we are reminded of the power of gratitude and I think our Jesus Calling book said it best “ Let the thankfulness rule in your heart. As you thank Me for blessings in your life, a marvelous thing happens. It is as if the scales fall off your ryes, enabling you to see more and more of My glorious riches.” We are called to be grateful in all circumstances and in this moment God is calling us to be thankful for even the tiniest thing…. this will open our hearts and make room for faith to then show us the incredibly big ways God is working.
Now that Danny is activated we wait… it could be tomorrow or it could be in a matter of weeks, even months. Oddly enough this waiting kicks off during the season of Advent, the time of year when we are to be preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. A season that is all about preparation and patience while waiting, and again I think what perfect timing. Last week I had a moment where I almost lost it. Someone innocently enough asked me something about timing of a holiday get together and I almost shouted back – how the heck am I supposed to know? Don’t you know the magnitude of what we are preparing for? A life altering surgery that will just come form some random cell phone call…. don’t tell me about turkey and mashed potatoes or pies preparation when I have to figure out how to prepare my little family for our life to be unrecognizable… while staying calm and acting like its all gonna be fine. But instead I just moved on wondering how they could not look at me and see the heavy weight of what I was preparing for in my tired eyes. This is the biggest moment of our lives and the world just keeps on hustling and bustling along.
This Sunday in mass it hit me like a ton of bricks – truly if you were at the 12:30PM mass at Saint Theresa’s in Ashburn – you may have heard me laugh out loud. Here we are all running around like a bunch of chickens missing heads with to do lists a mile long for the holidays…. and Jesus is just watching us wondering when everyone is going to stop and realize the big thing that we are actually supposed to be preparing for …. Him. If I think its crazy that people don’t remember what I am facing, how the heck does God feel when we are all worried about an elf on the shelf instead of surrounding ourselves with ways to focus on Him.
The last few weeks Danny and I have been just overwhelmed. I think living in a fog is sort of normal… but it wasn’t until I sat down this past Sunday and really realized what is happening in our life -could there be more unique timing? Could the lessons that we are being taught be any bigger? I keep thinking why can’t I seem to just get things off my to do list or how come following our pre-list plan seems so hard – they are just tasks. Yes, the life and death thing, but actually its more than that – its the powerful message God is sending that seems to have knocked me on my butt. Don’t try and get it all right, we can’t possibly do this perfectly – rather it is about having faith to trust His plan by just being patient and still. I thought my job in this whole thing was to keep life as normal as possible, but coming up unsuccessful I am suddenly realizing my true job is to stop and have this time with Danny. We are to just slow down and be still. Our family and friends are circling us close… Danny’s energy is dwindling and the need to be close to home is turning into a demand… our life is simplifying whether we like it or not and what perfect timing. So on this day that will forever be marked as the one that started this journey, I want to capture the message we are finding – be still and wait with a faithful heart.
And just a note to say – as much as this is so hard for the doer part of me or the tough guy part of Danny – we know the only way we will be able to be still and just ride this wave is thanks to the support of our family and friends. You all have already shown up in such huge ways and we are so grateful. In being honest – we feel odd and awkward…. its uncomfortable and humbling…. but if let the guards down and be still, we know that God is sending you to us so we can not worry about groceries or laundry and soak up this time. So thank you – this season as I spend more and more time with God to sustain my heart and soul, I will be asking him to bless all of you.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!