Givers and Takers

give-takeA year before Riley was born, Allison and I had a miscarriage. For a young married couple trying to have children, it was absolutely devastating. We walked into the doctor’s office that day, expecting to see and hear our first child for the first time. There are very few worse feelings than not hearing something when a heartbeat is supposed to be present and it is not.

Driving away that day, I came to grips with my anger and decided that I would make a symbolic gesture in faith – I did not want to feel like the world owed me anything because of my hardship. I refused to feel like a “taker” even in the moment of tragedy. I decided that day that regardless of what life throws at me, I want to remain a “giver.” I had no idea how this slant would end up rewarding me later.

It is so easy to feel entitled to be a “taker” or to feel like we are owed something. However, I have realized countless times that taking the approach of wanting to be a “giver” is the best way out of the mental rut of dealing with disaster. “Takers” stay in the rut and in turn feel more entitled to continue taking.

My symbolic gesture that day was to give blood, something I had done before but very irregularly. I thought what better way but to anonymously give back to the system that had taken some piece of life from me that day. It was a gesture of giving a piece of my life in confidence that God’s world is still good even when life is taken away. Four years later, after having given blood numerous times since, it was my own daughter that needed blood – 67 times in the span of 3 months. She needed it to sustain the life that I had no fathomable idea I would love so much.

We host blood drives now in order to give others one opportunity to be “givers.” At this point, we have given more blood through our drives than our child has taken. I will forever be a “giver,” though.

We all have a choice of how we are going to approach a world that seems so hard and cold, especially in these difficult economic times. I vote that regardless of what today brings, that we all decide to give. In the end “givers” win.