Lenten Reflection, Friday, March 4
By: Susie Salsitz
When Ashley asked me if I would be interested in writing a Lenten reflection, my first reaction was, “WHAT?! What on earth would I reflect on?” Then, Ashley told me that the Lenten Speakers on Wednesday evenings are reflecting on Jesus’s request, “Do this in remembrance of me…heal, forgive, proclaim, show compassion.” Immediately I thought of my father-in-law, Murray, and my memorial to him.
In the summer of 1978, when Murray was 62 years old, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Honestly, we really weren’t surprised. He smoked Camel cigarettes for years! What did surprise us was how quickly he got really, seriously sick.
It was over 40 years ago. I don’t remember the details, but Murray needed blood. The family was encouraged to donate blood to replace the blood he was given. I had never donated blood! I had never even thought about donating. The very thought creeped me out! Volunteering to have a needle stuck in my arm?! ICK! Too scary!
But Murray was getting a lot of and needed more blood. The hospital was “encouraging” us to donate over and over. I felt guilty. I was supposed to be an adult! I should step up and do this for my father-in-law. So, I made the appointment and went to the Red Cross and stuck out my arm.
Guess what? It wasn’t bad at all! A pinch at the beginning was the only painful part. Why had I been such a baby? I ended up donating blood three times for Murray. I would have donated more but he passed away in October, just a few months after his diagnosis.
After that experience I thought about how important blood donation is – how important it is for the healing of others. There is no artificial blood. Blood is needed day in and day out, 24/7, 365 days a year. The only way to get blood is for generous people to come forward and volunteer. The reason I donated blood in the first place was to help heal my father-in-law. Then it came to me that I could continue donating in remembrance of him.
Since I started in 1978, I have donated well over 250 gallons of blood. Over the years I learned that my blood is special. I’m part of the 20% of the population who is CMV negative. My blood is necessary for the healing of cancer patients and premature babies! Now that I am retired and have more time, I donate platelets instead of whole blood. It’s more time consuming, but I have the time! There is a terrible blood/platelet shortage right now. Please, consider helping to heal people by donating blood!
Lent is a time for us to take on certain spiritual practices. You could say that donating blood is a spiritual practice of mine. Will you consider donating as a practice?