Transplanting. It’s probably one of a gardener’s favorite things to do. After all, that’s what gardening is all about, isn’t it? We take those little seedlings we started from seed and we transplant them. We set them out in the garden to add a touch of beauty.
And I love the fact that here in this part of the country I can find something to transplant just about any time of year. Even in these last dreary days of winter I can transplant pansies or Dianthus, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. But when it comes to transplanting I don’t think about pansies or the petunias. I think about my dear friend Allison.
Allison, like me, is a true plant lover. She never missed a chance to visit the nursery where I used to work, just to see if we had gotten anything new since her last visit. We’d look up and down every row of tables overflowing with annuals and perennials. We created the perfect combinations of colors and textures for the dozens of containers she planted every season.
“I need something for those pots on both sides of my door. What do you think about these?”
“Now, help me find something for that little bed by my front door.”
“Oh, aren’t these the cutest things? I’ve got to find some place to use them! Will they work in those pots I put on my patio? What do you think?”
We planned, we discussed, we arranged, we changed our minds, we’d go back to our first choices and start all over again. I’d like to think the shopping, planning, and visiting brought her as much joy as her containers and flower beds brought her the rest of the season.
Today marks the anniversary of a special day for Allison. On March 5, 2010, Allison came home from a different kind of transplanting – her second heart transplant. That’s right… her second heart transplant.
Quoting Joan Amatruda, a nationally-known heart transplant coordinator, “a re-transplantation is rare, rare, rare. To survive is even more rare.” But on this date a few years ago, Allison returned to her hometown where hundreds of homes and businesses displayed green ribbons, the symbol of organ transplants.
Is Allison rare? You’d better believe she is. But it’s not the statistics of re-transplantations that make her rare. It’s her incredibly positive outlook on life, her zest for life, her beautiful smile and her sweet, sweet spirit. These things have never changed, never wavered one bit through trials and setbacks and times she dealt with incredible physical struggles and challenges.
Before Allison received her second heart transplant she had been on our prayer list at church. One Wednesday night in particular as I looked at her name on that prayer list and prayed specifically for her, I caught myself feeling less than optimistic about the situation. In that very moment, it was like God stopped me in mid-prayer and asked me, “Do you believe that I’m still a God of miracles?” Of course I did… why wouldn’t I? Immediately, I felt as if I were being questioned again, “Do you think I am stingy with my miracles?” The first transplant was a miracle. Why would a second one be any more difficult for the God of the universe? Why would He want any less to do it again, if it were in His will?
Suddenly I felt an assurance and was able to pray expectantly… expecting God to answer and to work another miracle in Allison’s life, if that was what He chose to do. It was early the next morning that I got a phone call from my husband at work. A voice mail message had been left for him in the middle of the night. Allison was getting a heart!
Was it my prayer that made it happen? The only way I know to answer that question is that it was God who made it happen. But, He was gracious enough in His timing of Allison’s life events and mine to orchestrate a lesson that taught me an unforgettable lesson in praying expectantly.
On that day, with those beautiful circumstances, He taught me that nothing is impossible with Him. He taught me that He is still in the business of God-sized miracles. And He taught me to never take for granted the blessing of a beautiful friendship like the one I have with Allison… the epitome of someone who blooms where they are planted.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21)