once upon a time

Today, I want to tell a story. Once upon a time, a young princess (14)got very, very sick. So sick, she had to go to a place called a sanitarium (I don’t think we don’t have these in the US anymore) to recover (she hoped) from tuberculosis. But that is not what this story is about. While the girl was there, her mother, age 44, died. The girl could not say goodbye and could not go home for the funeral. When she left, her mother was there; when she returned, another woman was in her house. The princess was very, very sad.

Now, the girl grew up to be a queen, as princesses do. She married and had her own little girl. The little girl grew and grew. Well, she didn’t grow so much. She never grew over 5’2″. But that, dear friends, is also not the point of this story. When that little girl was seventeen, learning about the world around her, dreaming of her own happily ever after, and getting ready for a strange new invention called college, she was also taking care of the queen and a very, very sad king and their castle. At barely fifty, the queen died and left the princess alone. The princess was very, very sad.

Now, that girl grew up to be a queen, as princesses do. She married and had her own little girls. The little girls grew and grew. But the queen started to get sick, and she, too, would die if no one rescued her from the evil spell that bound up her family. But fortunately for the queen, her handsome prince (the king) knew a way to outwit the magic. Through great peril to himself, he fought the wicked sickness and saved the queen. The princesses were very, very happy. The end.

Yesterday, among many worthy days, was National Donor Day. I did not have to celebrate it. I celebrate it every day of my life, because I still have a life, which is more than can be said for the queens in our story, my mother and grandmother. It is more than can be said for thousands who die every year waiting for organs that never come in time. Every one of those people has a princess, prince, king, queen, mother, or father who is very, very sad. Almost all of them do not have to die. They could be saved by people who make a couple clicks on a web page.

No one likes to think of dying, and I hope and pray all of you and your loved ones live long, happily ever after lives. But it does no harm to any of us to take time to secure that happily ever after for others if we do not achieve it for ourselves. If you are going to a better place when you do go, you will not need those old organs. We’re getting new bodies. (If you’re not sure where you’re going, that’s a conversation for another place, but I’d love to have it with you.) Please, become an organ donor. Today. Celebrate National Donor Day in the best way possible.

And, as the King in our story knew, you don’t have to die to be a kidney donor, and it really is not “great peril” to donate one while you are still alive. God made us all with a spare–how cool is that?

To join the registry of organ donors in your state, click here: http://organdonor.gov/

To learn more about the myths of organ donation and how to donate, try: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organ-donation/FL00077

And, to learn about the disease that took the lives of the queens, and how many, many people are waiting for their knight (or maiden) in shining armor read: http://www.pkdcure.org/Portals/0/files/documents/pkd_ad_01_gen.pdf

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