BY CHARLEY NORTON
As some of you may know, much of what I write about come’s from my dreams. Many of which can seem quite real. So real that sometimes I find them hard not to believe myself. There are stories I’ve written for Lake Wedowee Life that have had some readers also thinking they were true….. to the point that my editor had to put disclaimers on some so people wouldn’t take them for truth. I like to call them “Dream Stories,” written with my eyes shut and mind open. They naturally write themselves.
I must admit these last several months have left me to question whether or not I was dreaming. Most folks know I was pretty sick and in need of a transplant. To be honest, I really had written myself off and was doing the whole “affairs in order” thing. But while we were waiting at UAB hospital to have a procedure done, I got the call of my lifetime. A potential donor came into my world and just a few hours after that call I was in surgery and eight and a half hours later I woke up surrounded by machines, monitors and of course, Kim.
I’m not sure if it was karma, chance or maybe just luck that brought this gift to me… No, there is only one reason and most folks that followed my adventure know it. They played a big part in my being able to write this story today after so long. It was a gift from God. This blessing came to me on the prayers of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Many I’ll never know. Now, if that isn’t a miracle then I don’t know what is.
We all, at one time or another, have heard the expression “You don’t know who your friends are until you really need them." This was usually said by someone who felt slighted or abandoned by those that he or she thought they could count on. My experience was the opposite. I found I have more friends than I could have ever imagined! There aren’t enough words I can say to express how I feel about what so many did for Kim and me. I am truly, truly blessed. I have had a chance to see how I’m thought of by others. Like a different approach to “It’s a Wonderful life.” I have grown closer to my wife, my daughter and her family, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. My brother Bill and his awesome wife Lori put Kim and I up after surgery so we’d be close to the hospital and brother Tom pulled and is pulling the load at the store in my absence. I'm closer and so much more appreciative to the churches, Sunday school classes, prayer circles, friends and individuals that took time to put in a good word with the “Big Guy” for me. Bless you all for this kindness. I will strive to earn it.
But, there is still one more to thank. And that is to the one who gave me my new life at the end of their own. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your family or what circumstances brought us together. I don’t even know how old you were or if you were a male or female but I can promise you one thing, from now until the day I die, you will be a part of me and you will never be forgotten.
But even If I were to die tomorrow, it will have been worth it just to see how precious every life is and just how much good there still is in this world. You just have to look for it. Just don’t be like me and wait til you are at death's door to find out because the door can always close and there may not be a second chance. For that reason, I encourage everyone to sign the back of their license and become a donor. It would possibly be the biggest gift you ever gave. God's blessings and favors to all of you.
Editor’s Note: We are over the moon thrilled to welcome our friend Charley back to the Lake Wedowee Life writer’s circle. When he talks about people that prayed for him, we were definitely on the list.
April is National Donate Life Month and April 14 (the first day you could be reading this) is Blue and Green Day to support organ donors.
Also, if you would like to learn more about organ donation in Alabama, visit www.legacyofhope.org
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