A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


You are a mystery to me.

I don’t know who you are, where you are or if you’ll ever read this.  But this is the only way I can think of to reach out to you and say “thank you” for Taylor’s new heart.

I know that the joy our family is feeling at the new life you have given to Taylor is matched only by the sadness your family must be experiencing because someone you love has died.  I am sorry for your loss – I truly am.  My greatest hope is that you can somehow extract some comfort and meaning from the knowledge that your loved one’s heart is beating in the chest of an outstanding young man, and that his family is profoundly grateful.

You should know that the heart arrived, safe and secure, and in the very nick of time.  Taylor was on the operating table, being prepared for the transplant.  Just as they were getting ready to hook him up to the machine that would keep him alive during the operation, his heart stopped beating.  It was a miracle that he had even been born with such a poorly formed heart, let alone that he had survived for 13 years with it.  And finally, just as it was about to be replaced, it gave out.  It stopped working.  If your loved one’s heart had not arrived when it did . . .

But it did.  Thank God.  And thank you.  It did.

The doctors were pleased with such a good, strong heart.  I guess we have you to thank for that, too.  The surgery was long and delicate and incredibly successful.  Taylor’s body responded immediately to his new heart – and positively.  He is recovering beautifully from the surgery.  He is home now, and while his parents are taking every precaution and continually reminding us that we have a long way to go before we’re completely out of the cardiovascular woods, for the first time in his life Taylor has a heart to match his . . . well . . . his heart.

Last Sunday Taylor’s Uncle Dick and Aunt Judy dropped in for a visit.  Taylor’s mother kindly asked them to put on surgical masks – they are doing everything they can to avoid possible infection during the healing process.  When Taylor came out he looked . . . amazing.

“I’ve never seen Taylor look so good,” Dick said.  “He was smiling.  He moved energetically.  His cheeks had that healthy, rosy glow.  I asked him how he was feeling and he looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Uncle Dick, I feel better than I ever felt in my life.’”

For Taylor, ill health has been a way of life.  His parents have helped him to live normally – or as normally as you can live when you don’t have a complete heart.  He laughed and played and studied and did most of the things that kids do.  But it was harder for him than most.  Even so simple a task as taking a long, deep breath has been a challenge for him.

On Sunday, however, he stood there with his aunt and uncle and showed them how he could inhale and fill his lungs to capacity.  He smiled at them as he exhaled.

“That feels good!” he said.

I’m sure you can imagine what a wonderful thing it is for those of us who know and love Taylor to see him smiling, with rosy cheeks and lungs filled with air and the future bright and promising before him.  It is nothing short of a miracle, for which we thank God, medical science and you – whoever you are.  I don’t pretend to know why or how miracles happen the way they do.  I know there are other wonderful families out there who have prayed and worked and anguished for the exact same miracle that we received – with different results.  As the poet observed, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”

Now and forever, you and your family are part of His wonder.

And part of His mystery.

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— © Joseph Walker

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