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“I’ve learned there are some things worth having, but they come at a price, and I want to be one of them.” The quote is from a woman named Karen, the subject of the 1937 novel and subsequent movie “Out of Africa”.

As I get older, I confess to conjuring up a bit of a “bucket list”, but admittedly, traveling to Africa was not tops in that department. Not, that is until a colleague and I were discussing potential for the establishment of a business line in Kigali, Rwanda. Then we began to discuss the need to go establish banking and other relationships, and I began to get a bit more interested. Seeing the “Gorillas in the Mist”? Hmm.

Then, we began to discuss necessary vaccinations, and he said the fateful words: “You won’t be able to give blood anymore”.

Ouch. Small stick, then a burn, followed by several small squeezes…

There is a blood drive coming up soon at our church, and even before hearing a passionate plea this past Sunday morning regarding the value of blood donations from the father of a cancer patient, the friendly vampires from The Oklahoma Blood Institute had called to inform me that I was again “eligible”.

As evidenced by the stack of T-Shirts pictured above, and this is only a fraction of those collected over the years, I’ve donated a few gallons in my time.

You see, Bing (Jeffrey Bing) really is an agent 007, and I even have that logo on an OBI shirt to prove it. I possess O Negative blood, the universal donor type, as does .7% (.007) of our society. To top it all off, I am CMV negative as well, meaning I’ve never had a common flu like virus where antibodies would be harmful to preemie babies and others who are ill.

I must admit, I don’t love the exercise of giving, but I cherish being gifted to perform said act. Very few (.007, anyone?) can give their blood and know that a small baby or a very sick loved one might see new days because of my slight inconvenience and minor pain. I don’t know that I’m ready to give that up, just yet. I’m just not sure if my calling is over in that department.

At my last donation, I was feeling good about clearing over 4 gallons when an older gentlemen nearby told me that he’d surpassed 13. Wow. I was humbled. Maybe I needed to hear that as a challenge and motivation to prioritize “the list”.

Maybe the gorillas will have to be seen on Discovery Channel. Maybe the banking can be done via phone, internet, and FedEx. Maybe a yet to be born child needs “a little bit o’ Bing” to brighten their day?

Here’s where you come in: are you giving the gift of life? Some can’t for various reasons, but many can but have never tried. You could save a life. You could save many!

“I’ve learned there are some things worth having, but they come at a price, and I want to be one of them.” I think I’m not done being an OBI special agent just yet, even if it keeps me “Out of Africa”.

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Blood: they say it is the gift of life.   It is certainly life giving.   I am O Negative, CMV Negative (they call it “baby blood”), so the kind vampires at the blood institutes in Oklahoma and Texas have been asking me to be overly generous for over two decades.   But, I must admit, that has been more guilting than not.


You see, for most of those years, I have dreaded the exercise of getting stuck.   It made me feel awful.   “Back in the day”, as a skinny college student, I almost passed out once.    Since that time, more weight (I like to call it “substance of form”) in tow, it has been easier.    But, it still has made me feel bad.   Tired, washed out, light-headed, in a bad mood: you name it, I’ve felt it, after “giving the gift of life”.    Pretty sad, huh?


I made some choices a year or so back.    One of them was to begin exercising.    Since that time, I have given “the gift of life”, and I am happy (but slightly embarrassed) to say “I felt good”.     Whether it is improved circulation, improved respiration, improved mood, or the like, the day after effect from giving blood has not been there.     Call it my imagination, but even the “slight stick, then some burning” they warn you about has not hurt so much.   Who knew?    And all from a little R&R on the treadmill.

So, is it easier to give, no matter the object (blood, money, time, etc) by how we choose to live?    I think maybe so.

Jesus shed some blood as well, and his choice has given life to us all.    I dare say, He would not/could not have done so had He chosen to live differently than He did.    And He did have a choice:

Philippians 2:5-7 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Funny thing about choices: you have to keep making them.   They are not one and done.    I have to live for today.     I have to choose how I live.   

Lets help each other make good choices, today (and tomorrow), what do you say?   It could be a life giving decision…

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