Miracle Moments Miracle Moments Of Personal Growth

S CHRISTIANS, we are taught never to ask “why,” but to accept God’s will. However, the human instinct typically takes over and we want to challenge God’s reasons for why something is happening to us. As a healthy young man with a loving family, God saw my life in ways that I did not. He saw it was time to pull me back to Him. I didn’t understand His will and when I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, I thought my strength would overcome it.

Around Christmas 1999, I became very ill and knew my body could not fight the disease any longer, yet I did not feel ready to go on dialysis. My whole world would change. I wondered if I would be able to work, play with my children, fish or do the other things that normal, healthy people do. Finally, my wife convinced me it was time, and I was placed on peritoneal dialysis. I had to be hooked to a machine for eight hours each night, then wake up the next morning and go on with my life.

I was placed on the transplant list shortly after I began dialysis. The possibilities of receiving a match seemed more unlikely with each passing day.

On July 23, 2001, I recall sitting in the break room at CHRISTUS Jasper Memorial Hospital with a couple of Associates and jokingly saying, “Well, when I get my transplant, I won’t be able to eat this food!” That evening shortly before midnight, the phone rang and a voice on the other end said, “Mark, are you still interested in receiving a kidney transplant?” At that moment, I experienced feelings of joy… and fear. Was I really ready?

I looked at my wife’s face and saw tears roll down her cheeks. At that time, I knew that if I didn’t have the transplant for my own sake, it was certainly for those I loved. We prayed and prepared for the coming hours.

The next step was to travel three hours to determine if I was a match. At 6 a.m. on July 24, I received a message that I would be scheduled for a kidney transplant that afternoon. As the team of surgeons prepared me, we learned that a 16-year-old girl had lost her life in an automobile accident, and she had indicated her willingness to donate her organs to help others. That afternoon, I went through a three-hour surgery that was a success. I remained in the hospital for six days.

When I returned home, I knew my gift was from God when my 5-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “Daddy! No more tubes!” My family and I cherished the new life we had, but there was still a void around us because of knowing so little about the young lady who had given us this second chance. We finally learned that the answer to our prayers was a blonde, blue-eyed girl named Samantha Whitney who had lived in Richmond, Texas. We learned that she loved life and people, and had told her parents that if anything happened to her, she wanted to help others by donating her organs.

As I think back now and still wonder why these things happened the way they did, I realize only He knows the answer. Life is tough at times, but can you imagine what your life would be like without God? I will forever be grateful to Samantha and to God for giving me a second chance. Their spirits will forever live within me.

Mark Durand
team leader
CHRISTUS Jasper Memorial Hospital
Jasper, Texas