I love those movies in which several independent stories are told and as the movie winds toward the end, you discover that the stories are connected. “Crash” and “Babel” are examples of movies with interweaving stories. A couple of weeks ago I had my own experience with interweaving stories that involved the death of two people I cared about, a wedding and the renewal of my driver’s license.

I love those movies in which several independent stories are told and as the movie winds toward the end, you discover that the stories are connected. “Crash” and “Babel” are examples of movies with interweaving stories. A couple of weeks ago I had my own experience with interweaving stories that involved the death of two people I cared about, a wedding and the renewal of my driver’s license.

The story begins with the deaths of two people that I cared deeply for, one being my wife’s Uncle Billy, also known as Albert DeSmedt, and the other being a former client, Othelia Mengel. But I want to jump to another part of the story first as it helps bring the other parts of the story together.

Two weeks ago, I experienced a miraculous wedding at Maywood Baptist Church. Actually, this miracle began over 10 years ago. When my friend Shane Kampe stood with his new bride Josie as they were introduced to their friends and family who had gathered to celebrate their union, Shane had the biggest smile any one person had ever smiled. That smile might have been because of the kiss he shared with Josie, but that smile began being constructed in a hospital room at St. Luke’s Hospital where Shane lay motionless and nearly lifeless over 10 years ago.

Shane and his friend, Danny Kobzantzev, had been out drinking and partying into the wee hours of the morning and decided to drive their motorcycles home drunker than skunks. Shane wrecked his motorcycle and his head struck the pavement causing severe injury to his brain. The doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital had given the family little hope and, in fact, had began discussing organ donation with Shane’s family. And then the miracle happened.

You may have little or no faith, but you cannot deny the miraculous recovery of Shane Kampe. He was as close to the end of his life as possible, awaiting removal of his young organs, while friends and family were gathered to spend their last moments with their dear friend, brother, and son. His friend, Danny, born a Jew in Russia, also was present. A friend of the family began praying for Shane’s recovery. Danny was not a believer, yet he joined in the prayer not even knowing how to pray.

I already told you how this story turns out, because Shane is alive and doing pretty well. He has changed his life, is active in his church, and now has a new family when he said yes to Josie. Danny later began a journey that day that led to his decision to accept Christ in his life. Thus, Shane’s miracle gave life not only to Shane, but also to his best friend, Danny. (If you want to hear Shane and Danny tell their stories, go to the website www.iamsecond.com.)

As I rejoiced with Shane, I began thinking about Uncle Billy. The day before Shane’s wedding, we attended Billy’s funeral at the Our Lady of Presentation Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit. Although we miss Billy a lot, it was a joyful day in many respects because Billy had strong faith.

Billy was a remarkable man. He had never married, but he was still called grandpa by the neighborhood kids. As I sat in the funeral home at his visitation, I watched as those children from Billy’s neighborhood came to pay their respects; they were overwhelmed with grief. I told my family that everything I ever needed to know about Billy was displayed in those expressions of mourning and grief by those young children. Billy had obviously impacted their lives in a very significant way. At the funeral, Father Tom, the priest at Billy’s church showed emotion as he spoke about his good friend, Albert. At a luncheon at the church after the funeral, we spoke to many members of his church who had wonderful things to say about him and we heard stories about how Billy had helped countless people in the church. Billy went to Mass every day and a day did not pass that Billy did not do something for someone else.

I thought about Billy as I watched Shane’s wedding because Billy met a different fate at the same hospital where Shane’s miracle occurred. Billy had a life-ending heart attack and continued his eternal life at St. Luke’s. And while Shane’s organs were never harvested, Billy had decided long before he died to donate his bone marrow when he died so he could continue to help countless people. Billy gave life even after his earthly life ended. This sweet man who gave fully and generously of himself during life had made arrangements to keep giving even after he died.

I also thought about one of my old clients, Othelia Mengel, who recently passed away after living 91 full years. She was a remarkable woman and one of my favorite clients ever. In her final act, Othelia donated her body to the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences so medical students could learn from her. Othelia taught school for two decades in Columbia during her life and taught so many others throughout her life, but even after she passed, she did not quit teaching.

Now to weave these stories together, a couple of days after Shane’s wedding, I renewed my driver’s license and the clerk asked me if I wanted to donate my organs. Of course I did. But I also looked at the back of my driver’s license and noticed that it was blank. Please go take out your driver’s license right now, If you have filled in the blanks, you have decided to give life after death. If your license is blank like mine was, fill it out and donate your organs so you can help countless others. Maybe it will be our hearts, lungs, kidneys, liver, eyes, skin or bone marrow. Whatever it may be, if we give, others may live. Don’t hesitate. Do it now. There are many ways to give your life to others. Billy, Othelia, Shane and Danny teach us that.