Approximately a year after I made Aliyah, I saw an ad on the internet that asked:
“If you are type O+ blood, and would be interested in donating a kidney, please send an email.”
I had never thought about organ donation, but then again, I had always been so busy being a wife and mother. For the first time in my adult life, I was on my own and, I only had to take care of myself. I sent an email.
A very long and grueling process ensued. I underwent extensive medical exams, psychological exams, and quite a bit of personal expenses as well. I traveled many times from Jerusalem to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. None of this mattered. I was feeling so much joy at the possibility that I could be a part of the team that could save someone’s life.
As I approached each step along the process, I felt like the contestants in the TV Reality Show, “Survivor.” There were physical, emotional, and social challenges to navigate, balance, and overcome. I felt this incredible sense of relief and excitement as I battled on in pursuit of winning the ultimate prize as the slogan says:
“Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”
The difference here was life, not a million dollars.
I had made it to the Final Tribal Council!
I had even met the person to whom I was to donate and his family.
The final step was to plead my case to the jury. I had my interview set with the Dr. in charge of the division. I was nervous, yet confident after all; I was a Jew, sitting in a Jewish hospital, in the Jewish State of Israel, wanting to donate my kidney to a Jewish man. What could go wrong?
She began by telling me that in the end, I was not a direct match for my donor because of rare antibodies. However, if I was still willing to be a donor, there was a chance they could find a 3-way swap, and I could donate to a third party, and that third party’s donor would donate to my person. I needed to be aware, though, that there was no guarantee that the person that I would give to would-be Jewish.
I didn’t need a millisecond to think about an answer to her question, YES jumped out of my mouth, and I’m IN.
She chuckled and told me to sit back down in my chair. I hadn’t realized I had jumped up, but then a wrinkle crossed her brow. She looked at me funny and asked, “Why do you take the generic medication, Topiramate?” I have been a migraine sufferer since 1997. After years of visits to many doctors and different treatments, this is the one that has given me back function.
She put the papers down, took off her glasses, gazed at me, and said in a somber voice, “unfortunately, you are no longer a candidate to donate a kidney.”
At that moment, I had a choice between anger or taking joy from the experience.
It mimics life. Sometimes we get so close to our dreams or goals, but a stumbling block, either someone, something, some force of nature or science or possibly God Himself, comes along, and we fall.
Is falling the equivalent to failing?
I want to offer my interpretation of the difference.
Failing is when the door shuts, you stay inside, you don’t have the strength to search for an opening, and it feels like no one from the outside is searching for you. The result can often lead to suicide. This failure is on the individual, and although it can do tremendous damage to the surrounding family and friends. Please try and not take the guilt on yourselves.
Falling, on the other hand, is when the door shuts, and you stay inside, but you are searching for an opening, yet you feel like no one is searching for you. You continue to stumble around that house, possibly for a very long time. Eventually, you find that crack. You open that window, the sunlight pours in, you bless God, and you are forever grateful. You will never be able to forget that airless dark house for the rest of your life. You will be able to find joy in life, but you will never be able to forget. Dr. Edith Eger, author and Holocaust survivor, a world-renowned trauma specialist, discusses this topic extensively.
I think the education system worldwide should seriously consider changing the F from failing to fall.
When we fall, we have second chances, and I use the plural. It even showed up on our TV screens this week in the finale of “Survivor: Winners at War.” I could write a book alone on the evolution of the show “Survivor.” It did not disappoint in trying to teach huge lessons to society this season, in particular to falling.
The first contestant to be voted off the island, and sent to Extinction, needed to wait and continuously search for the cracks in that very dark and challenging place to find herself sitting at the Final Tribal Council. While at the very end, she did not win the title of Sole Survivor, I would like to offer a consideration:
“Survivor” is a TV show, and we are living in real life. Their motto is to “outwit, outplay, and to outlast.” As we begin to emerge from Corona with the fear of a possible second wave in the fall/winter, we may need to adopt a different slogan. I am offering up,
“We are the Champions,” the iconic song by Queen.
Only a song, in which we all champion each other, sung by successful men, who recognize women as Queen, will strengthen our world.