Borrowed Time

When I am downtown at PMH waiting for an appointment, it will come as not surprise to you that I will often engage the other bmt patients around me in conversation.  I am always curious to find out how much time has passed since their transplant and whether their donor was a family member or if they were anonymous.

Time and time again I will meet patients and their loved ones who have only been released from hospital days before and it is a powerful reminder to me as to how far I have come in the last four years.  I truly have forgotten just how far I have come.  At the same time, being four years down the road I am often (not always) able to offer some wisdom that I have learned along the way.  I also meet patients who are years ahead of me and these patients give me so much hope as I look to the future.

The stories that I enjoy the most though are about the bone marrow donors.  I have been moved to tears as a patient, sitting next to his brother will say, “my brother’s bone marrow saved my life.”  Equally, I have talked with siblings where there is deep guilt and pain because they were not a match for their sibling and it was necessary to look for an anonymous donor.  Each patient has a story, each caregiver has a story and as I sit and listen with open ears I can often hear my own story echoed in theirs.

The waiting room at the hospital, has for me become a sacred place, holy ground, if you will.  There are many days when I head home and realize that my scheduled appointment was with the doctors but my God Appointment had been pre-arranged to sit and listen and share my God story in the waiting room.  I am humbled to no end.

One of the recurring themes in my conversations with bmt patients and their families is this: Since November 18, 2009 (my transplant date) I have been living on Borrowed Time.  If it hadn’t been for my sister, for my cousin, for a stranger I may never meet I would not be alive today.  Each day after the day of my transplant is a gift to me and I am living on Borrowed Time.  I hear this all the time and while the idea of Borrowed Time points to the overwhelming thankfulness that a patient has towards the one who donated their life-giving bone marrow, I think perhaps, that this thought is a lie trying to masquerade as the truth.

Lets read Psalm 139:14-16 together.

For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Did you catch that?  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  This is such a comforting thought for me personally.  As I look back over the last 15 years of my cancer/bmt story, I realize that this has been a foundation for me.  In fact, more than that, it rocks me at the very core of who I am.

You all know that I am so thankful for Jessie and the generous, selfless gift of her bone marrow.  In 2009, Jeff and I realized that I was running out of treatment options and that a bmt had the potential to drastically change my health future.  However, we equally knew that God is the One who keeps track of all my days, and that we could do nothing to change that.  I couldn’t outlive the days chosen for me and I wouldn’t be short changed of any of the days that God already planned for me since before the beginning of time.  Doesn’t that just make your heart leap with joy?

I have come to realize though that this truth is not just for me and for the other bmt patients I meet at the hospital.  This truth is for YOU!  There are some of you who believe that you are living on Borrowed Time and you might not even know it.  Maybe it has to do with a health crisis where your life was literally hanging in the balance.  Perhaps it was a traffic accident. Maybe a quick change of destination decisions and realization that “that could have been me”.  I don’t know your story or the circumstance, but you do.  And if you believe that you are living on Borrowed Time, you are believing a lie.  If you are alive today it is because God has ordained it since before time began.  Believe it and live each day fully.

You are not living on Borrowed Time, In fact, you are living on God’s carefully-chosen-just-for-you Ordained Time.  Doesn’t that sound way better?  I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: You were created ON PURPOSE and FOR A PURPOSE and it is my prayer that as you live out each day given to you that would continue to understand all that God has prepared for you since the beginning of time.

With Joy that TRIUMPHS,