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blood, needles, and nails

Needles make me squirmish.
I really don't care to give blood or get shots because I just don't care for needles. It isn't anything terrific--as in, I don't pass out and grow faint looking at them--I just don't like the thought of being pricked by a needle; it isn't fun. Hoxworth calls me every couple weeks and reminds me that people are dying and that their blood bank is too low and my blood type can save lives, and every time they call I have two responses:

-The first response is that I feel equal parts heroic and empowered to go save a life.
-The next response I have is to ignore the call, because, well...I don't like being stuck. This leads to guilt, most assuredly, but not quite enough guilt to call them back and schedule a time.

Well, a couple weeks ago they got me. I answered the phone and they talked me into saving a life by giving my blood. Those darn save-a-life speeches just have a way of getting to me I suppose. I set it up to happen during my lunch break and told them to give me a phone call reminder the day before. As it turns out, I stayed home the day before to take care of Katie and Isaiah who were both coming down with cold-like symptoms, so I missed the reminder phone call (man, but these guys are good. First they call you every two weeks relentlessly trying to persuade you to climb into the chair, then they call and remind you of your commitment. How much do these caller people get paid I wonder??). It wasn't until 12:01p that I looked at my calendar and realized that I had an appointment at 12:00. So I rushed off to find this Hoxworth location. I knew it was just down the street from the church, but for some reason I couldn't find it.
Now I'm running even more late.

Turns out they don't really care if you're late, because you are volunteering to give blood, and it's the blood they're after. They'll stay there all day to get your blood.

Finally I find the place and sign in. The nurse took me back to do the screening questions, take my blood pressure and prick me for an iron count (dang! forgot about that one). This whole time I kept thinking, "It would be quite easy for me to walk out of here and not give blood. I am under NO obligation to continue." But I stayed.

They got me in the chair, tied my arm down, gave me a little rubber ball to distract the arm under distress, and plugged me into the blood sucker.
All you can do at that point is think really. So that's what I did. I started thinking.

I thought about how I wouldn't mind being there if I was sick and the needle prick would make me feel better--that would be a productive type of pain to make my sickness pain go away. I wouldn't mind subjecting myself to pain for a brief time if it meant wellness down the road.
But it is absolutely crazy that any human being would subject themselves to pain and discomfort when they are perfectly healthy and well. Naturally, no person wants to experience pain when they don't have to (let's not get into the discussion of childbirth here...)

And then I thought of someone who really set the bar on this issue.
Someone who took pieces of metal far bigger than needles into his arms.
Someone who poured out the entire contents of blood from his body.
Someone who decided to save more than just one life.
Someone who took on pain for me, personally.
Someone who didn't want to go through the pain, and who had the opportunity to turn away with no obligation, but set aside his desires for the good of others.

And when I'm reminded of that level of sacrifice, suddenly an 8 week visit to Hoxworth doesn't seem so bad.
Nor so noble.

1 John 4:19
"We love because He first loved us."
PS, Turns out, you get a free cookie afterwards. Looks like I could be giving blood on my lunch breaks more often...

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