Double Lung Transplants and Graceful Words


My chest rises and falls effortlessly. I sleep and the involuntary act of breathing expands and contracts my diaphragm.

In my nose.

Lungs fills up.

Out of my mouth.

Lungs spill out.



She seemed more aloof than usual. Her notebook check yielded dismal results. Red Zeroes peppered the gradebook. Her smile was a shadow of its former self.

I warned her of her recent failures, like a teacher of the law warns a Samaritan woman.

“I’m trying to take care of mom,” she said,”She’s been in and out of the hospital a lot lately. She’s on the waiting list for a double lung transplant.”

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis;

I have no clue what those words mean in the technical sense; Only that those words can shatter a ninth graders fragile psyche into a million pieces. They make linear equations and exponential functions seem like a cruel fool’s errand.

“I’m so sorry…well, I’m sure your mom wouldn’t want your grades to slip……” was my half-hearted vacuous response. That teachable moment slipped through my fingers like a jello covered baby.

And I’m reminded of the quote by Ian McClaren:

“Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.”

Everyone we meet is a soul, not a hollow tree. There may be thousands of insecurities, burdens, and scars they are battling on the inside in any given second. Still waters don’t gaurantee still deeps.

May we speak words of grace like our big brother that lighten the unbearable yoke.

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

11 thoughts on “Double Lung Transplants and Graceful Words”

  1. Had an accident today. Came off bike hit the floor and hit the floor heard a great crunching tear on the inside. Left hand side. Having breathing difficulties. And plenty o pain. . The drivers ok. May visit hospital later after my shift. O

  2. I really appreciate this post Bryan. I know there have been so many times in my own life where I was caring such heavy burdens that were unknown to others, and I know it is the case with other people as well. A few times lately I have attempted to step back and wonder why someone is acting the way they are, and what hurt has led them to who they are today. I know the only way I can selflessly love people like that is by the grace of God. Let us be willing to let Him transform our heart towards others.

  3. It’s not easy to remember that others are carrying heavy burdens of their own. It’s just so natural to be caught up in our own problems. I need God all the time, but I especially need Him to give empathy to those I interact with when I’m buried in my own worries. If I give the love and compassion of Christ at those times, it’s all God and zero me.

  4. Newly-widowed ladies have told me one of the hardest things to cope with is seeing friends avoid her, simply because they don’t know what to say.

    We need to take hold of and use every opportunity we are given to encourage and cheer and to witness of the greatness of our God.

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