Having sat waiting for the best part of an hour it would have been easy to have given up and gone home without donating but I had waited this long and anyway, this was my sixty-seventh donation so waiting a little longer wouldn’t hurt. I’ve been a blood donor since a few days after my eighteenth birthday. Originally going just to find out my blood group, I was soon going every few months. Although I have always been aware that the blood donated goes on to help others, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service (as it is now known) and its predecessors have always done a great job of educating the public of the value of blood, but to be honest to me it is background information to what has become a routine or habit.
Eventually, I was called forward the staff were apologetic for the delay and professional as ever. I signed the necessary forms and felt the stab of the ‘finger prick’ test. All good, not anaemic, so all ready to donate. I sat on a chair as the donor assistant prepared the bags and tubes that would receive my donation. As she stuck on the various hi-tech barcoded stickers, she also started to tie on a paper parcel tag, “An extra label for you”, she noted. I looked quizzically, intrigued by the comment and the antiquated paper label being tied to the sterile equipment. “Your blood is going to a neonatal unit for babies, look it says ‘neo’ on your donation form”. A warm feeling spread across me as the value of my blood suddenly became more real than any donation I had given before. Having briefly visited a neonatal Intensive care unit when my son was born I was struck by the potential this donation had to change the lives of young and old and to bring hope to those in despair.
Soon I was whisked off to my donation chair, long gone are the rows of fold out beds, my arm was cleaned, I was passed the card advising me to wiggle my feet, clench and unclench my buttocks and thighs (apparently it stops you fainting); soon I was plumbed in and the rich crimson life was flowing out of my left arm and into the donation bags - didn’t feel a thing.
As I reclined there donating I was struck by how I put more value on the life of a newborn than I did on the life’s of the people my previous sixty-six donations had potentially helped. It contrasted sharply with the way that Jesus placed such value on all lives.
As we move through Lent and towards the Easter my thoughts as those of all followers of Christ focus on the greatest blood donor of all. Jesus died for each and every person: man, woman; child, adult; rich, poor; black, white; free or slave; every one. The love that God had for all of human kind led his Son, Jesus to give his blood through beatings, whippings, having inch long thorns woven into a crown thrust onto his head and ultimately through the nails that pierced him and fastened him to the cross he was crucified on. His love was freely given with the potential to change the lives of young and old and to bring hope to those in despair. With the ability to bring man and God together; to know each other’s presence. Jesus did this because he loves me and he loves you and that includes you - the person reading this.
In a few days, I’ll receive a text telling me that my blood donation has been issued at a named hospital and I will know it has gone to do good, though I can only wonder what the true impact may be. Just over two thousand years ago the Son of God, offered each of us a wonderful gift of life, he is waiting for each one of us to receive his donation and God is just longing to see the impact of his gift to heal, to restore, to comfort, to renew should you accept it.
If you want to help other’s why not think about giving blood but if you want to receive the most incredible gift ever why not find out more about the greatest blood donor ever.