Father’s Day, June 15, 2014, started as a usual Sunday. I ate breakfast, did some last minute study on my Sunday School lesson, got dressed and went to church. After church, Barbara said we would get together with family later, so we ate barbeque sandwiches at our usual restaurant. We came home, and I watched the St. Louis Cardinals. I asked Barbara if I should stay in my good clothes, and she said, “Yes.”
She came dashing into the family room at 3:05 pm and declared, “We have to leave, right now! We were to meet the Arnces at three.” Perplexed, but obedient, I went along as she drove us to the church house. I noticed several cars in the parking lot. We entered the church fellowship hall. A crowd of people wished me congratulations on the ten year anniversary of my double lung transplant!
Yes, I was surprised and overwhelmed. With long-distance discussions with our son and wife, Barbara with our daughter and husband and daughter-in-law and their families had masterminded this surprise party without my knowledge or even suspicion. (Barbara found it exhausting to give me vague answers all the time and decided she is not cut out to be a secret agent.) It was a special day and a wonderful celebration for me. Everyone from our care group and our Sunday School class joined our family and a few other friends–a valuable support group of forty.
Barbara planned the celebration. Our daughter’s family provided the refreshments and decorations and our daughter-in-law made the cake. The cake had a picture of lungs with the heading “Breathing Easier for Ten Years” with the words, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad” (Psalm 126:3).
The day marked a significant milestone. We did not know if I would survive long enough to get the transplant. After the transplant, doctors told me that the average time of survival for persons with lung transplants was five years. Here I am, doing relatively well, at ten years and counting (June 15, 2004-June 15, 2014). What a privilege to have these ten years with my wife and family and friends. This extension of life has enabled me to continue my writing and teaching ministry.
I am blessed. I give thanks to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am deeply grateful to my wife and family, friends, and the medical persons who have served and supported me.