Recently we had a family crisis. Our grandson Mac, age 6, suddenly became ill and needed an emergency liver transplant. (read story here). Mac is a quadruplet so he has 3 siblings also age 6 and a sister age 8.
Today, one month post-op, Mac is doing very well and the doctors are pleased. He has a long road ahead. Saying that we are incredibly thankful seems woefully inadequate.
There have been so many blessings along the way. And so many lessons. So much love. One of the blessings has been to be on the receiving end of extraordinary care.
The spirit of our community of friends, and even those who didn’t know our family, has been overwhelming. Little Mac’s parents, Libby and McLean, have been generously ministered to and we have seen first hand how we might care for others in need.
Here are a few things that folks have done (in no particular order) to love our family.
* The night of the transplant 24 family and friends gathered for an “all nighter” in the chapel of the hospital to pray, cry, laugh and simply be together during the 7-hour surgery. We even ordered pizza at 2 am.
* 100 friends in Memphis gathered for a worship service and prayer service. A similar group gathered in Nashville. Churches and individuals from all over the world prayed for us.
* Close friends of Libby and McLean’s from Atlanta flew in just to be there for the night.
*A couple who had been through a similar experience with their own 4 year old, stayed up with us all night, surrounding us with love and hope. (Their son is a college sophomore now and thriving!) They brought Mac the teddy bear their son had on his hospital bed all those years ago. And we did not even know them before this experience.
*Many gifts, including lots of legos, and thoughtful activity books were delivered to the hospital and to the kids at home.
* Mac’s dentist dropped off a full dentist treasure box for the other kids (the one they get to choose from when they get their teeth cleaned)!
* A sister in law gave Libby a locket to put pictures of the other kids in to wear while she was at the hospital for 19 days and really missing the other kids.
* A friend got Libby’s physical therapist to come to the hospital to work on her jaw tension.
*Friends provided meals for Susy’s (Libby’s twin) family in Nashville so she could go to stay in Memphis.
* Each of Libby and McLean’s 8 siblings flew in from all over to be with them.
* Little Mac’s uncle was medically cleared to be a live donor if needed. Others also volunteered.
* A cooler was set out on Libby’s front porch and meals dropped off daily in disposable dishes.
*Libby’s twin, Susy, made her a playlist of hand picked worship songs to listen to at the hospital.
* A friend coordinated the meals, and did grocery shopping for extras.
* Friends took siblings for much needed haircuts.
*A friend came to sit in the family lounge of the hospital all day simply to read the scriptures and pray.
* Two former babysitters came back to take over the house and other kids for a weekend.
* A friend arranged “in house” massages brought for Libby and McLean.
* Two first cousins, both physicians, came to the hospital nearly every day and were available 24/7 for random questions!
* A friend did a prayer run around the hospital every day.
*Two friends came regularly to pray healing prayers over Mac whenever they got a call. And they still do.
* Friends had coffee delivered to the hospital each day.
* Friends had a huge banner prepared and put in their front yard so anyone could come by and sign it. Then they hung it over the front porch on Mac’s “Coming Home” day.
*A friend dropped off a pajama party in a bag as a welcome home present. (See the photo! Mac is in the middle)
* Sister Grey’s birthday was right in the middle of the crisis so friends arranged for balloons to fill the entrance hall of their house, got her an ice cream cake, and decorated the entire kitchen for her birthday.
* A friend got a super hero cape for Mac and had all the kids in his grade sign it and pray for him and took it to the hospital where it hung on his wall.
* Super hero capes arrived in the mail for the other 4 kids so they could all be heroes with Mac.
* Friends brought hand sanitizers, soaps, Kleenex, and a hospital grade hand washing station to have at the house for his homecoming.
* A friend made bran muffins to get his system going.
* A friend cleaned out Libby’s fridge.
* Friends took home, washed, folded and sorted their laundry.
*A Halloween care package came in the mail with candy to hand out, trick or treat boxes for the kids and Halloween crafts.
*A sister framed a photo of Mac’s first smile with his dad post surgery and took it to the hospital.
* A friend became the “go to person” for all wanting to help – organizing rides, play-dates, and texting every single day for their grocery needs.
* A friend packed all the boys lunches for weeks- her kids decorating the bags and dropped them off every Sunday for the entire week ahead.
* Friends who took the other kids helped them do their homework, clean out folders, and sign their school papers.
* Mac’s surgeon and his wife came to bring Mac a giant grizzly bear. (Think “Memphis Grizzlies”)
* An artist friend painted an abstract painting filled with representations of the visions that have been seen along the way in this journey.
The greatest act of love has been shown by a family we may never get to thank in person. This is the family who lost a child and chose to give their child’s liver in order that Mac might live. We, and hundreds of others have prayed for them constantly and we hope that one day we will be able to tell them how very grateful we are.
This is not a complete list. There have been many more acts of love and now a month later, the care continues.
So much love.
I hope some of these ideas might serve to stimulate the rest of us to care for someone in need. Practical acts of love put feet on the second commandment-to love your neighbor as yourself. Perhaps there is an exhausted young mother in your neighborhood, an ill person in your community, someone who has recently lost someone, or someone alone for the holidays. How can you care for them?
We have seen the truth of John 13:34 demonstrated:
“A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciple, if you love one another.”