April is National Donate Life Month. That set me to thinking, …”let me count the ways.”
There are many thoughtful folks who sign up to be organ donors. You can see it on their marquee license plates or on a card in their wallet. They have made the decision to give parts of their body to others at their death or during their lives, for the benefit of those in apparent need. No doubt, this is an unselfish act and shows, in one way, love for one’s neighbor.
Others choose to give to blood banks. During my service in the US Peace Corps, I had a friend who became ill and the medical staff in this Manila hospital felt that a transfusion was needed for my friend to survive. The blood type was rare but a donor was found. Without the donor and patient knowing it, the donor turned out to be the Director of the Peace Corps in that country and the recipient, one of his volunteers. They had no idea of their relationship, but the supply and the need matched through a sense of generosity…giving unselfishly. The volunteer was enormously grateful, of course, as was the Director.
What other ways might we “donate life”? More broadly, aren’t we donating life to others when we coach kids in a way that includes sportsmanship, gender equality, honest play, vigor and self-discipline? What about when we raise our children to be ethical, productive and caring? Consider those who visit the homebound and bring joy and vivacity to their bedside. Certainly, we have all had the opportunity to share a word of encouragement to a stranger in need.
I believe the sense of life was lifted above the physical aspect in the Biblical statement regarding Christ Jesus when it states, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”*. That abundance is not measured by anatomy or money, but arises from the spirit of unselfish love that was lived by the master Christian as an example to us all.
So whether or not I choose to be an organ or blood donor, I can donate abundantly to life. Each of us can and probably does do just that each day, in great measure. There is no limit to our resources in making such donations.