Tuesday, November 2, 2010

to give life is to have life.

i'm going to preface this post by letting you all know that the Red Cross is nothing but a bunch of snobs. apparently my blood is unacceptable because it's been to Honduras and back in last 12 months.

but in all seriousness- i understand. i would hate to give someone malaria or some other deadly Honduran disease (although i assured them i was 90 percent positive i wasn't bitten by a mosquito when i was there).

although the fact that i was unable to give blood today kind of ruins this post, i'm still going to go with the idea behind it because i feel it's a good one.

i suppose a college campus like Samford is a decent place to hold a blood drive because word gets around fast and because there are less blood-contaminating behaviors on campuses like this one (right?...). Whatever the reason, blood drives happen on a quite regular basis around here. Consequently, over the past three years i've passed the Red Cross truck and congratulated myself for being too underweight to give blood on a quite regular basis as well.

Pre-recovery, the big white blood truck seemed like nothing more than a bright spot in my day- something to ensure my validity and importance each i time i saw it or saw someone wearing one of its stickers. i could look at it and know that of all the things i wasn't, there was one thing i was: thin. And for me, this brief look into how thin i actually was was like a fix of pseudo-awareness of my significance and specialness.

according to my old standards, i'm apparently no longer special or important, because i weigh enough to wear a red cross sticker, just like all the other non-special people who weigh enough to take time out of their days to keep blood banks stocked.

because this mindset is one in which my beliefs were firmly rooted for the majority of my college experience, i decided it would be only fitting to make my way over to the next blood drive, give my blood, and enjoy knowing that my now lively body is capable of offering its life to someone else.

it sickens me to consider the amount of emotional security i found in my own lacking physiological health. but what's even worse to me is that i found self assurance and pride in the fact that i was unable to offer life in the form of blood to another person.

giving blood, i think, parallels to much of the rest of my life (this is the part where you pretend that i successfully donated a couple of crimson pints today). There have been a myriad of ways i've seen and experienced myself being able to pour forth (or stay steady as a vessel as He pours forth) into others where i found it previously impossible to be present. Just as my body was without the health required to offer blood to someone who needed it, my mind was without the nourishment and free space it needed to be present even amidst the lightest of passings-by conversations. My heart and spirit were without the security and the joy of contentment they needed to laugh from down deep, and to love my father, my neighbors, and myself with open arms.

for so long, i thought that not weighing enough to give blood made me "good enough". i now realize that "good enough" is something i'll never be; "good enough" is not what makes us able to give. what makes us able to give is to have life ourselves. i now have life, and i'll give life. today, i marched into the blood drive and i said, "i'm here for the first time ever because i finally weigh enough to donate blood". and even though i didn't even technically need a band-aid when i left red cross, i left the drive feeling fuller, more capable, and more like myself than i ever felt passing it by.



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