Yesterday I was referred to Piedmont Kidney Transplant Center in Atlanta to be evaluated for a kidney transplant. I have only one emotion about this: fear.
I am feeling good right now. Dialysis is going well and keeping me healthy and stable. But my doctor says that my quality of life will be better and that I will live longer with a transplant. The trouble is that before the quality and length of life part actually occurs, there is surgery, recovery, weakness, recuperation and dozens of anti-rejection medications. That frightens me.
Change is always difficult. Taking risks is difficult. Any surgery is a risk. So I am fearful. I keep hearing in my mind a Bible verse I learned as a child, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” But even so, I am afraid.
This is a long process. The evaluation will take months, and the waiting time for an available kidney could very well go into years. I don’t really think it will be good for me to start now being afraid of what might happen in months or years. We are given the gift of our lives in this present moment with no promises for any tomorrows. I want to be content today, not afraid.
I think the only way to go through this process is by trusting God and resting on God’s plans for giving me a future and a hope. Fear is a poor option for me, for any of us who are facing significant change. It can be a change in health, in financial condition, in relationships. Fear is inevitable, but it is a poor option indeed.
Instead of relentless fear about something that might happen in the future, we should practice present mindfulness. Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present. When we are mindful, we show up for our lives; we don’t miss them in being distracted or in wishing for things to be different. We don’t dwell on what might happen in the future.
Fear of the future is a poor option. Showing up for your present life, being in the moment, is the best option.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)