The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I was watching ER this morning. Yes, ER. I have a soap. I'm not defensive or in denial. Though, I will rationalize that I do not ever watch daytime soaps, I have been a faithful ER viewer from pretty much the start. It is only once a week, and it is wrapping up it's final season...ever. So there you have it. I've purged my deepest secret and we are all the closer for, my blog stalkers, friends, and family.

Ah hem, I digress.

The episode today focused a young boy struck by a car while riding his bike. He died, (shocker for ER, I know) and there were many recipients awaiting his organs. Susan Sarandon made a guest appearance as the deceased boy's grandmother. His father hadn't ever really been in the picture and his mother had disappeared about 7 years prior...a meth-addict.

After conceding to having many of his major organs donated, Susan went in to say one last good-bye. As she held his hand she gave it a little squeeze and it squeezed back. This grandmother was certain her grandson was somehow coming back. He would live on. She reacted immediately and refused to let him (or his organs) go. All the while, many people around the country were waiting for the possibility of receiving literally a new gift of life.

[Ok, so I know this is all not real but just bear with me...]

George Clooney, a doctor at the hospital housing this deceased boy and his grandmother, after many hours of trying to convince her he had passed, went in for one last try. There were about eight doctors from various hospitals watching the minutes pass as these viable organs slipped to become only a hope of becoming life-savers. Patiently, they waited to see how the future of many, would be decided. Clooney, being the good-lookin'...ah hem...intelligent doctor and savvy persuader, managed to convince the devastated grandmother that the boy really had passed.

The conversation went something like this...

Clooney: "Tell me what your grandson was like."

Grandmother: "He was a handsome boy, smart, kind, he loved music. He loved to play his music really loud - the kind I don't like. He had many friends. He was always helping others."

She smiled.

Clooney: "He was generous...?"

The grandmother shook her head yes. Confirming that he was generous and he would want to help save the lives of many others, at the expense of his own. And, he did.

Now, I have to admit that Ben calls this my "slit-your-wrists" show. And, I will concede that it often does have quite a negative, depressing undertone. And, while the story-line on this week's episode was no different, there was also a glimmer of hope. And, for some reason I was struck by this episode. It was the weight of the word, generous. The thought that someone might die in order to offer a small, physical, (yet pivotal) part of their being, to help another.

I found it to be quite a powerful statement. A young child, helping adults. An innocent being, giving life to someone more weathered.

And while this models the act of Christ on a much smaller scale, I also found similarities in our life and chosen journey...our family is walking a similar route.

Someone, a complete stranger half a world away, will give us a gift. A - likely - young girl will offer us a piece of herself.

And our life will be even more complete.

I don't think the word generous does the act justice.

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