I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the dichotomy of organ donations. How one family’s worst day is another’s best day, how one’s worst nightmare is another’s answered prayer. How unfair that it is, how confusing, and in some ways, how beautiful that something so terrible can still have something so good come out of it on the other side.
I recently started a new paraprofessional job at a local elementary school, mainly because the hours and schedule work so well with my kids’ hours and schedule. I’m still in that phase of motherhood when my life basically just orbits around the lives of my children. My old career in the corporate world wouldn’t work with my current family situation, and I’m okay with that. This position kind of fell into my lap in such a way that I can’t help but feel that this is where God wants me to be right now.
My first morning on the job, I was trained on how to use a laminating machine. I never really expected that at any point of my life I would be taught how to laminate something, but life can be strange and take us to places we never expected to be. It also makes me contemplate what laminating actually is – it’s preserving something frail so that it lasts longer.
My new job also entails watching three consecutive classes during recess and in the cafeteria. It’s been a couple of weeks now and I find myself already loving the kids in my new classes. It’s interesting to put faces and names on the people we’ve been asked to guide and protect, especially in situations like the ones described in the hour-long presentation by the local police department during the last conference day before school started. The district just hired a new head of safety and security who has a background in anti-terrorism, because that’s what children in America’s school system need nowadays unfortunately. The staff at schools aren’t only focused on education – we’re also in the business of preservation.
Sure, I may spend much of my days now tying shoelaces and opening chocolate milks and granting requests to go to the bathroom. But really, I’m making sure these kids are safe and secure when they’re under my watch.
Organ donation is about life preservation too. Life is sacred and should be protected at all costs. If it can’t be, we try to mitigate the loss by trying to save someone else’s life. The chasm between the anguish of losing a life and the joy of saving one is mind-boggling. That level of sacrifice and grace cannot be explained, it just is.
I pray that I live into my 90s like both of my grandmothers did. I pray that my children have me around for longer than they really need me. I pray that I get to help raise their own children and tie their shoes and give them chocolate milk. At the same time, I find richness in my faith and belief system where others might fight only hopelessness and confusion. I’m not going to lie – I’m confused, too. But I have faith. And a role in preservation.