I’m a good bleeder. (See April 22, “Earth Day(s)). I can’t call it a skill, just a fact. I can’t deliberately bleed on cue, as an actor can produce tears upon command. However, when called upon—and under the right circumstances—I can bleed and bleed well. Today I was able to donate a double unit at the local blood drive.
I was a high school senior the first time I gave blood. I’m sure in 1988 it had more to do with skipping class than saving lives, but I was hooked. In each of my stops after college, I have taken the opportunity to give blood. It is simple, painless, and I am good at it. Two of the congregations I’ve served as a pastor have offered their space for Red Cross blood drives. Infamously, At Edgeboro, we had three people pass out one sunny Sunday morning—one of them never even gave blood! At Hope, the blood drive days ushered in people from the whole community.
Here in Door County the Red Cross has multiple sites they use. Here, a friend and I would compete to see who filled the bag fastest. My goal was to give a unit in under five minutes—a mark I have yet to reach.
I don’t know what is so satisfying about giving blood, but there is something DEEPLY satisfying about giving blood. The satisfaction might stem from the fact that I bleed well and am in good health. The satisfaction might come through knowing that I have a lifesaving essential that other people need. The satisfaction might come through the free, guiltless cookies and soda afterward.
As I settled my business in the office this morning, I was aware of a sensation that I have missed over the past six weeks—joy. I felt giddy this morning. Excited by the sunshine, the pre-donation splurge of eating WHATEVER I WANT, the chance to get off the hill and make it all the way to Fish Creek. Even the fact that the speed limit in Ephraim dropped to 25 mph today didn’t bother me.
We must count our small victories. Joy comes in small doses these days. Today I gave two units of joy. Today I received exponentially more joy because of it.
I don’t know what you’re good at, but I know you are all good at something. I know that you are all good at something that can help other people grow, survive, and thrive. Do some work. Figure out who needs what you have and give it with a deserved and unreserved joy.
I can give blood again on August 21, 2020. Because I gave twice as much blood, I have to wait twice as long to give again.
Unless, I don’t have to wait. I have to wait to give blood, but I don’t have to wait to spend time with my family. I will never regret being quarantined with some of the people that I love the most. I don’t have to wait to tell some stories, piece strands of thought and heart together and share them with friends. I don’t have to wait to listen, counsel, listen deeper, and hope.
Neither do you.
I love you.
[I need you.]
I hope for you.
Please be safe.