Monday, November 10, 2014
I had decided to take the afternoon off work. It was a Friday and there was no work on my table so I thought, "Hey, why not?" So I did.
One of my stops was the Community Blood Center. I was beyond my eight week waiting period between donations to I stopped in to see if they had any openings. They like me to donate blood and are grateful to see me, however I think their enthusiasm has more to do with my A-negative blood type than with me personally.
My blood technician for the day was named Jessica. She was good looking lady, hair pulled back in a ponytail. I'd guess she was in her late 30's - early 40's. I'd seen her there before. A veteran. That's always a good thing to have when someone is trying to locate one of your veins with a needle.
I usually donate out of my left arm and had my I Am Second bracelet all poised in position and rotated for easy reading. It's a great conversation starter and soon Jessica and I would be talking about I Am Second and what it meant and then we would be talking about God - my desire for ALL conversations.
But Jessica never asked about my bracelet. It was like she didn't even notice it! I was kind of disappointed. Instead she asked me this question.
"So, what are you doing for excitement this fall?"
The man I used to be would have answered that question differently than the Bob that lives inside this rickety old tent these days. I probably would have talked about the Corvette I used to have or all the projects I was working on at my job. That was then. This is now. I want to talk about Jesus.
"Well, I write a blog and I mentor / counsel teens and young adults in our area."
"Whoa. Back up a bit. You write a blog? What kind of blog?"
"I write a Christian blog. I write stories about where I have seen God working in the world around me."
"That's cool. Tell me more about the counseling thing."
"Well, I talk with kids about their faith, I give them advice when they ask for it, I listen to them as they unload their problems. I listen to them and then I try to tell them about Jesus and all the things He went through and how He will forgive their sins if they only come to Him in repentance and place their faith and trust in Him."
Mission accomplished . . . or so I thought. I continued . . .
"This time of year is really tough. Last year we had a young girl take her life and the year before a young man did the same thing. Suicide is a problem everywhere but it has hit our community hard these past few years."
That was the trigger. THAT was why "I suddenly decided" to donate blood that day. It's always amazing to see God working around us, and sometimes THROUGH us.
Jessica told me about her daughter who was struggling in high school and how her daughter had told her she didn't want to live anymore one night after breaking up with her boyfriend. Jessica was a wreck for one nasty week as she watched over her daughter like a hawk.
When her daughter went upstairs to take a bath one night Jessica kept walking by the bathroom, knocking on the door and asking if she was alright.
Zoom back out of this conversation for a moment and look at the two people God brought together - a mom with a daughter who has contemplated suicide, and a man who has had experience counseling teens who have seen two suicides in their lives.
We talked for the entire duration of my blood donation and for several minutes afterwards as well. I prayed for Jessica and her daughter and then I left for home . . . with a smile on my face. It is nice being used to help someone else. Another one of the many gifts God showers on those who love Him.
I pray to always be ready (as it says in 1 Peter 3:15) to give a reason for the hope that I have. To see these situations as they are happening instead of regretting my inaction after the fact.
One of the prayers I should pray more often is to ask God to forgive me, not only for my actions, but for my in-actions as well.
May each of us be faced with situations this week, opportunities, to serve God through pouring ourselves into the lives of someone else. As it says in Galatians,
"Let us do good to ALL people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." - Galatians 6:10
We can never discern what is in a person's heart, whether they truly believe or not, whether they are in "the family of believers" or not. That is why we are to default to doing "good for ALL people." And doing them . . . In His Holy Name.
Good Things - The Bodeans