No one needs to remind us of these difficult days and weeks, nor of the challenges we’ll face in our future. Others can suggest what I should be doing, but it’s up to me to determine what more I shall do to help in this war against pandemic. I don’t have medical experience; I’m older and less able to do things that require young legs; and, although I’ll give money, I ain’t Bill Gates. But I know I can do something more, and I might be able to do it again and again. I know, no matter what, if it’s indeed helpful, and a proper response, it’ll require some sacrifice: in time and convenience, in pain and fear, in assets or other resource.
I noticed last week that there’s a blood shortage and they’re pleading for donors to come forward. I immediately rejected it as definitely not the right time—to say the least—with infection raging among humans! Hell, I thought, let someone else do it! This seemed to be the last thing I’d be interested in doing right now. All I could think of was going to some place where there are masses of people; getting up close and personal with someone covered in plastic who wants to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them, while being injected with a needle to siphon off my blood, and immediately being infected with a dreaded disease. Although that’s frightening—No way! I’m not gonna do it!—vision popped in my head, thank goodness, upon further reflection, that’s not the way I chose to look at it.
If it’s going to help, there’s going to be sacrifice: that’s the way life is. Will I be willing, able, and serious enough about really helping, to donate my blood? That was the question, not: is it a good idea, is it helpful, will I be doing the right thing? Of course, those answers are: Yes! Yes! Yes! And dreaming and wishing and hoping don’t get it done. I must stop talking about helping more. I must help in harder ways than before.
I’ve made my decision. I just went online to research times, dates, and instructions for giving blood. I’ve promised it to me and to you all, too. That gives me more motivation to follow-through, thank you! We’ll see what happens. I’m committing to go: if I’m rejected, I’ll let you know. (My online sign-up worked the second time I attempted to schedule. I’m going to the Swarthmore Community Center next Thursday, April 2nd, to donate a pint for the cause!)
Sure, I get scared thinking about the negatives too much, because only the bad that could come from it instantly jumps to mind. That’s the way the mind works. I went through that knee-jerk reaction, but, now my thinking brain is engaged and helping me. I’m thinking through the benefits, the goodness, the peace of mind I’ll derive, rather than just succumbing to my immediate fear reaction. And that’s not how I choose to see me—fearful and cowering—I guarantee you.
My vision is: I donate blood to save the life of a young Latina medical worker on the front lines who saves countless lives with her selfless efforts. That’s what I see. That’s what I’m accomplishing. That’s why I’m doing something I really don’t want to do. I’d rather avoid the fear, stay comfortable on my couch, locked down, with a legitimate excuse. But I hear my mentor, Brian Tracy, telling me: Face up to your fears, and the death of fear is certain. My vision helps me accomplish more than I would have—and I could have a major impact on our fight against a common enemy. That’s my vision of what I’m doing. And why I’m doing it.
According to the American Red Cross, my donation of one pint of blood could save three lives. I’m an old white guy who’s gonna save a young Latina medical heroine, and, maybe a young black guy, who just got accepted to Medical school, who will help fight future pandemics, and, also, save some old, dear, wizened grandma, so important to her family’s welfare and stability in this time of need. They say three; I’m going big! As a bonus, it seems like a way I can help even things up for some of the sacrifices their loved ones and ancestors have made for me.
If there’s a heaven, maybe I’ll have a shot. In the meantime, I’ve made my appointment to give blood and to save 3 special lives! And what’s my sacrifice: probably just a safe pin prick; 2-3 hours of my time; a draining of blood (which will be replenished by my own body pretty darn quick). The chances of being infected and dying because I made this decision are minuscule. The chance that I may save 3 lives are pretty good. I’m taking the chance!