Turning Tragedy into Triumph
Life came to a standstill for Terri Herrington when her husband Bryan died in a roofing accident in 2004. The Pensacola couple were deeply in love and she couldn’t envision life without her soul mate. Nor could she bear the thought of her two sons, Drake and Payton growing up without their dad.
But Bryan was an organ donor. And part of the healing process for Terri was to make his death meaningful by helping as many people as possible by donating Bryan’s organs.
One of these organ recipients was Jeff Granger, a resident of Wacissa, Florida, a town east of Tallahassee. Jeff was in rough shape. His last functional kidney and his pancreas were failing. But doctors saved his life by transplanting Bryan Herrington’s kidney and pancreas into Jeff.
Deeply touched by these lifesaving gifts, Jeff and his wife Pam began writing to Terri, thanking her for her kindness and generosity.
Jeff and Pam understood that Terri, in her grief, could have been protective of Bryan’s body. She could have sent all of Bryan’s organs to the grave with him. But by donating them she was, in a way, keeping him alive in the lives of others. For this Jeff and Pam were profoundly grateful.
Jeff and Pam’s letters brought a great deal of comfort and healing to Terri’s heart. The three of them remained friends ever since and became almost family to each other.
But in November 2019 Jeff Granger’s kidney began to fail. Doctors explained that Jeff’s own immune system was, over the years, overcoming and rejecting it. The heavy-hearted man posted his dilemma on Facebook, asking for people’s prayers.
When Terri Herrington received word of Jeff’s emergency she immediately decided she would donate one of her kidneys to Jeff. For her, it was like continuing the lifesaving work her husband had begun. She also felt that, since Jeff still had her husband’s pancreas, part of her would be near her husband.
The surgery took place on March 3, 2020. It had been delayed only because Jeff had contracted pneumonia. But now both Jeff and Terri are in fine shape.
You know, trouble and tragedy are often unavoidable. But when they do invade our lives, we still have the power to control our response to them. In our grief and sorrow we are tempted to withdraw, count our losses, and allow our pain to embitter us. Or, we can facilitate the healing process by giving, forgiving, and loving. We can give meaning and purpose to our tragedy by using it as an opportunity to draw closer to God and to serve others.
Terri Herrington did this very thing. And through her loving and sharing, she brought healing to her own soul. She made close friends and gained family. In a way she kept her husband alive by allowing him to give life to others.
Jesus told us that there is far more joy in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35). Then He demonstrated this by giving His own life for humanity’s redemption. Yet “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:3). Christ’s greatest joy is in saving lost sinners, transforming them into children of His heavenly Father, and sharing heaven with them for all eternity.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, please arm me for the battles of this life. Arm me with love to overcome the hate of this world. Arm me with a generous and giving heart to overcome my inclination toward selfishness. Arm me with wisdom and insight, so that I find ways to turn tragedy into triumph. In every way, O God, make me an instrument of Your peace, blessing, and healing in the lives of others. Amen.
(Information from: https://people.com/human-interest/widow-donates-kidney-man-received-late-husbands-organs/; https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2020/06/22/Husband-and-wife-donate-organs-to-same-man-16-years-apart/3661592845380/)