by Pastoral Intern Elle Dowd
January is National Blood Donor Month, a time where we recognize the importance of donating blood. Blood donation is meaningful for my family on a personal level. In 2011, my spouse Adam contracted Malaria after visiting our children in Sierra Leone. You can read more about that experience here (https://dowdsermonizing.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/love-is-strong-as-death/).
Adam’s condition quickly became very serious, life threatening, and full of medical complications. At one point he needed a blood transfusion. The county in California where we were living in was experiencing a blood shortage. The blood and platelets that Adam needed was hard to come by and slow in coming. This put his life at risk. As the malaria affected his lungs, he needed to be intubated to survive. But the risk of intubation with his low platelet levels was incredibly high. And so we waited over 24 hours. The blood transfusion finally came, and Adam lived, thank God. But shortages are real, especially in the winter months.
National Blood Donor Month is a part of our secular calendar, not our liturgical calendar, but it has spiritual implications for us all the same. Each week during the sacrament of Holy Communion we receive the body and blood of Christ with the reminder that Christ gave his blood that we might live. From Christ’s blood flows life for all of us. We are empowered by Christ’s body and blood to go out in service to others, to give of ourselves in the same way.
This month we give thanks to all who are able to bring forth new life for others through the gift of blood donation. We also mourn the outdated, homophobic restrictions on donating blood that prevents many others from donating. We pray for all who are in need of medical care, especially donated blood, that God and their neighbors will provide for them.