Give Back

GiveBack

A few years back I decided that I needed to find something I could do to pour into my community and be a blessing, even in the busiest seasons of my life. I can tend to get into very busy seasons which make it difficult to set regular volunteering commitments and keep them. So, I thought I would try to find something that was meaningful to me, helpful to others and flexible, no matter how my schedule might shift. Sometimes the place to find a need to fill is in a place that you or someone you love at one time had need. 

I began to think back to my dad. He was a gentle, giant of a man. My dad displayed generosity for me on a regular basis. I remembered several times when he took the coat off of his own back or even walked back to the car to retrieve it in order to give it to someone who looked like they needed it more. When I was young, our parents took in a couple individuals and one time a whole family to give them a place to live while in transition. At one point we had four adults and nine children living in our, smaller than it sounds, 4 bedroom/3 bath house! Of course this was when my siblings and I were much smaller, and me, my sister and the other family’s two daughters could all fit into a queen sized bed together.

As I thought back on my dad and his example of generosity, I also began to think of things he received from others in his time of need.

When I was 16, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He had surgery and started chemotherapy and radiation. He eventually went into remission, but after two years, we discovered that the cancer was back and had metastasized to his cerebellum at the base of his skull. Again, he went through chemo and radiation. In those times of treatment, my dad depended on donations of platelets to help him stay as healthy as possible. They would replenish the good cells that had been killed off by his medication.

I started to think about how people who had never even met my dad had donated this life giving gift that allowed him to fight off infection and survive the deadly effects of chemo and radiation treatment. Without that gift, the treatment would have killed my dad, and we wouldn’t have had him even the amount of time that we did…definitely not those extra two years we had.

That’s when I decided to start donating platelets myself. And it turns out, I have plenty to donate…I can regularly donate double the average amount…sometimes triple! In this small way of going in for an hour to an hour and a half, I can sit there and watch a movie and give a gift that can mean life to someone who is battling a life threatening or life altering illness.

I’ve mentioned before that there is a plethora of research showing benefits of donating or contributing to others in some way. Some of those benefits include happiness and a sense of significance, and it truly does make me feel good to be able to give to others, especially in honor of my dad. And, I won’t lie, I do have a sense of significance every time the blood bank calls and asks me to come back because they could really use my double or triple donations.

I believe there is always some way that God has for each and every one of us to be able to give back. I believe there are really many different ways at different times. I believe we were made to serve and to make an impact with the love of Christ in our everyday lives. Sometimes that can be as simple as going down to the local blood bank, or buying food for someone who is hungry, or stopping and speaking a word of life and hope to someone in the grocery store, or even praying with a stranger while standing in line and waiting for your food at a Chinese restaurant…but that’s a story for another time.

One thought on “Give Back

  1. Jere Watkins says:

    For many years I was able to donate platelets as I had so many. I felt they were a gift from God. Then it was discovered my platelet account was too high and I now take medication to control the level. I miss giving. I joke that it was the only thing I was good at.
    So, I give back in other ways and while I do not miss the needle stuck in my arm, I miss the
    gift of giving extended life.
    Thank you for giving life in this way and the other ways you mentioned.
    Blessings

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