Today is the day
Today is the day. The date on my computer reads May 7. The day that my dad will get a new liver. The day he gets a new lease on life and the day I’ve been waiting for since last year. Kind of funny that now that the “big day” has arrived all it involves on my part is sleeping on a table, perhaps we’ve been too dramatic… This will be my last post for awhile, probably best for the safety of the general public that my thoughts remain in my head while I’m on pain killers. In the meantime though I’ll hopefully have my lil’ brother or sister update my facebook page so you can check in. If not follow my dads page which is linked over here on the sidebar —–>
I set forth saying I’d do this honestly. So honestly tonight I have to get something off my chest. As people have found out about my journey, this process of giving a piece of me to my dad, they’ve said so many unbelievably nice things. They use a lot of adjectives like selfless, and brave. Tonight I have to admit that I appreciate all of this, but it makes me cringe a little on the inside to hear it. I cringe knowing that in my heart I am neither of these things. I really do appreciate the words, but let me explain.
I am not brave. Bravery involves standing in the face of adversity when every bone in your body screams run. Brave is the soldier who willing goes into battle knowing they won’t be returning. Brave is overcoming your apprehensions to make a hard choice because you know it is right. Me? I have no apprehensions about this decision and I never have. Yes there are risks, but I am no soldier. No part of me has wanted to run from this situation, only towards it headlong. All of this though has nothing to do with me. If you read through my blog you’ll see there is a source of this certainty. I take no credit for what I’m about to do or how I feel about it, but rather praise God every single day that he has allowed this opportunity and quieted my heart through the whole process. If I was terrified of doctors, then yes call me brave. If I feared for my life, then call me brave. Because there are people who have these feelings and go through with the process anyways. My dad is one of them.
This story has been about my dad and I, but I feel like I haven’t even begun to uncover the depth of what “my dad and I” entails. I ran into the same problem while I was at Lahey interviewing to be a donor. See, they check you for all kinds of things; general health, blood type compatibility, liver physiology (did you know I have 2 bile ducts? I know now), and etc etc. There are also interviews with several social workers. I understand why. They have to make sure that potential donors truly want to donate. That they’re not being pressured, paid, or manipulated in any other way to donate. Its a good idea, but I found the process somewhat… tedious. Here is a complete stranger, staring across at me, determining if my relationship with my father is sufficient to warrant giving him a liver. He asks me questions like “How would you describe your relationship with your father?”. I try and answer as best I can, mumbling phrases like “We’re extremely close.” However, I can’t help but become aggravated in the process.
“We’re extremely close.”? Is there any possible way this funny little man in those perfectly round glasses can gleam even a thousandth of a percentage of what that phrase carries? I don’t know. I’m not even sure if he could, that I would want him to know. Why would I share this with this stranger? Describe my relationship? Really little man? You best cancel the rest of your appointments for the day. How do I tell him about my relationship with the man who shaped me into whom I’ve become?
This is a man who went to Florida for 2 weeks during my senior year of college and missed more of my baseball games in that span, than during the rest of my life. In 16 years I think the number of games he’d missed was countable on a single hand. He was always there. When I was young he was a coach. He’d take me to the field and I’d beg him to throw me just one more round of batting practice and after the fifth “last round” we’d leave as the sun was setting. When I had a bad game he would focus on the one routine play I’d made and pretend it was a highlight. Do you think I don’t know how hard this was for him? I know that’s not how he grew up. This is a conscious decision he has made because of his love for my brother, sister, and I. Does the phrase “extremely close” convey this love? I doubt it.
I can’t tell you how old I was, not old enough to remember the details, but I have a distinct memory of being in the kitchen one day and being a terror to my mom. What I said I haven’t the slightest, but it must have been baaaaad. What I remember? In an instant my dad sat me down and was VERY sternly telling me that I would NEVER disrespect my mother again. He told me I could be angry at her, I could be angry with him, and I could be mean to him, but if I ever spoke to mom like that again I would see him like I had never seen him before. In that moment I learned to respect and defend the women that I love. Still today, rarely am I seriously upset by anything, but disrespect my sister, my mother, my friends, my loved ones and you cross the line.
In a world where it seems like every movie involves the cliche touching moment where the cold father finally admits he loves his children, I grew up constantly engulfed in love from both my parents. I am blessed beyond a doubt. In a world where many people are afraid they’ll be as bad at parenting as their parents were, I’m afraid that I can never live up to mine. They’ve taught me integrity above all else. They’ve taught me that you’re never above a job when their are mouths to feed. They’ve taught me if you want to get respect first you must give it. Most importantly they’ve taught me that nothing can fill the void of love.
Is any of this covered by “extremely close”? I’ve already said there is no way to squeeze my relationship with my father into a curt little response that fits nicely into the allotted space on the questionnaire. To ask me to do so is near offensive. Which is why I cringe when I hear people say that I’m being unselfish. Really? Unselfish? Is it unselfish to give a small part of me to someone I love so that I can keep them around? Is it unselfish that I’m not ready to let go of one of my best friends? Is it unselfish that I’ll take the small risk that comes with this procedure so that my children will meet their grandfather? (although leaving my future mini-me’s with this crazy old man is actually what I probably question most;-)) No. The answer is no. Its selfish. I Joshua Abram Linscott, am selfish.
There is another reason I squirm at the term, selfless. I’m giving up relatively nothing. My liver will grow back. I’ll lead a perfectly normal life after recovery. So what am I giving up exactly? Then I start to compare this to my example of selflessness. A man who never even met me. A man who gave up not just a piece of his liver, but everything. A man that prayed to God that he didn’t have to die, but saw no other way to save me and then hung willfully on a cross. This man is selfless, this man is brave, this man is my savior. For some of my friends, I realize reading this this may be more than you ever wanted to hear, but this is honest. Christ is my example. Don’t judge him by me, I fall short in every single way. If you wan’t brave and you want selfless ask me about him and judge him for yourself.
4 hours from now I will be in a hospital. 12 hours from now I’ll be ending or coming out of surgery. In the meantime I have the opportunity to share life with a man I love. Yes there are some small risks, but I would take them if they were ten fold greater, all the while knowing if the tables were turned he would do more than the same for me. I do this willingly, I do this lovingly, and I do it without hesitation. Today is a new day and today is a new start. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We can’t wait to celebrate with you after the recovery. God bless.
Let me leave you with a song that has stuck with me today and come and listen.