Soul Dipper’s raison d’etre has just been challenged. Negativity has been flying.
The Guides told me, “You are not to mind this. Simply tell the story. The readers will share their insights. Enjoy their willingness to shine.”
First, I watched this video of Helene Campbell, a 21 year old lung transplant recipient from Canada who appeared on the Ellen Show. It’s sheer joy. But it brought back a resentment like heartburn after drinking a cup of poison:
An earlier lung transplant situation gave rise to my uninvited bitterness. I’ll name this recipient “★”.
A number of years ago, Joanna (not her real name) said, “What is it about ★ that makes it hard for me to want to help haul the oxygen tank around when we go places? I’m never asked but it’s expected of me. I don’t feel good about helping. Am I a rotten person?”
“You’re not alone,” I said. “Different people are having a tough time with this. Me included.”
How could I respond positively when I identified with Joanna’s feelings? I said, “Carolyn Myss wrote about needy people who hook others with invisible cords. It’s done in silence, but it’s felt. She calls them energy thieves. I’ve wondered if that is what is going on. Not being able to breathe and having to haul a tank around could cause anyone to cop an attitude that healthy folk should step up to the plate. However, I’d rather be asked. I feel manipulated with the silence.”
“The tank seems to sit there asking: what kind of human being are you? So…regardless of appointments, we haul the damned thing at a snail’s pace, with ★ connected, up the stairs or to the car.”
I said, “Never mind, we’re all praying that a pair of lungs show up real soon.”
Joanna said, ” What really gets me…★ is a senior who miraculously got accepted for a transplant in spite of being a long-term smoker. That’s because ★ told them the smoking habit was done. That’s not true. ★ is still smoking! That makes it even harder to help!”
Neither of us like being negative. We agreed to just carry the tank when it’s in front of us and keep praying for the lungs to show up.
We hauled that tank a few more months before the call finally came through. ★ was off to receive new lungs in another location with family in tow. The expense and time away from work was significant for all involved.
After the transplant, ★ convalesced for many weeks during which sessions with psychologists provided mental, emotional and moral support. When everyone was certain the new lungs had been fully accepted, it was time to come home.
At first ★ flourished. It was a pleasure to see the freedom from tanks and tubing. Then ★ began to slip, becoming more and more frail and, eventually, moving as slowly as pre-transplant days.
At a gathering last year, I looked across the room and saw ★ sitting, not talking with anyone and showing signs of labored breathing.
I took the chair next to ★, “How ya doin’?” I vaguely remember hearing the response about a fall and increased loss of memory. My concentration became lost in the smell of cigarette smoke embedded in clothing and hair. Instead of compassion, I felt disappointment. I was back into judging and didn’t like it.
A few days later, I said to Joanna, “Where is ★’s gratitude – or reverence? Would would the donor feel…or the family?”
I know I don’t have the big picture. Who knows the purpose of these actions? It’s time to hand over the resentment again and wallow in the joy expressed by Helene Campbell. She fought for her breath and helped her body accept those new lungs.
Helene Campbell is the kind of person I’d want using my lungs.