Brenda Jones, age 69 of Dallas, TX was on a transplant list to receive a liver. After a year of waiting she received the call, July 18 she was rushed to Dallas’ Baylor University Medical Center to receive her waited for liver.
This is where the story takes an unprecedented turn. Abigail Flores, age 23, was flown to the hospital, where doctors said she had a day left to live unless she immediately received a liver. Brenda Jones gave Flores the liver designated for her and chose to wait.
“In my heart, I wouldn’t have been able to live with the liver if I had let this little girl die,” Jones said. “And I still had more time … I would have been a very selfish person.”*
Selfish is one thing Brenda Jones is not. Thankfully, a few days later Jones received her liver as well.
Brenda Jones is a hero and the ultimate gift-giver. When faced with a life or death decision she chose the life of another, she chose to give an extraordinary gift to a stranger. This story inspires me and challenges me. While I may not have a life or death decision to make that affects another person, I can choose to give more ordinary gifts to those around me.
Ordinary gifts can also leave an extraordinary impact. I can give the gift of unhurried time. When I have the opportunity to visit with a senior client, I can feel the difference when I extend the gift of unhurried time. We can spend the space chatting, looking at pictures, and sharing stories without the pressure of the next appointment.
I can also give the gift of listening, truly hearing someone, bearing witness to his or her story. We all have been in a conversation with someone where we quickly realize that the person we are talking to is not really listening. It is not a good feeling. Giving the gift of listening, allows the recipient to feel known, a gift we are all longing for. As our friend Jane Barton says, “Caring for others begins and ends with listening. If we listen well, we increase the likelihood of serving well. A gift indeed.”
While the gift of unhurried time and the gift of listening seem pretty ordinary compared to giving someone a liver, I believe that these gifts are actually pretty extraordinary. In a world of hustle and bustle, unhurried time and listening seem almost obsolete and offering these gifts will make an extraordinary impact.
What seemingly ordinary gifts are you inspired to give?
*Story from WFAA – Watch the story of Brenda Jone’s gift.
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