Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Am An Unfinished Metaphor

So yesterday, I skipped off to donate blood. My grand master plan had two parts to it – donating blood would get the Red Cross to stop calling me every week (Since I lost my job at Unnamed Movie Studio Number 1 last year, it’s been impossible to find a location convenient to me that would do a drive on the weekends), and I would also get to fulfill a lovely Easter metaphor. Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior shed His blood on the cross for me, so I would shed it for someone else. It’s a beautiful circle of life, it is: He did it for me, I do it for someone else, I write a blog entry about it and inspire others to do the same, and I get juice and COOKIES to boot.

And I’m all set. Got my camera, to take a picture of the full bag o’ me when it’s over, got my Bible, which is a comforting Teddy Bear like presence when being stuck with a sharp object.

With this kind of build up, you know something’s about to go horribly awry, right?

As I’m sitting there, reading Ephesians from the beginning, to properly understand Chapter 5 in full context, it occurs to me that, damn, I’ve been here awhile. Maybe it just feels like awhile. When you know there’s a needle in your arm, the seconds just DRAG. I don’t wanna be known as a Problem Patient, so I don’t say anything, and continue to read Chapter 2, But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Uh-huh, blood shed for me, I shed for others, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus, but I can shed blood easily enough to help other people, check, check check,

The technician who did the initial needle stick has vanished, so another technician checks on my bag, and calls a second one over. Uh-oh. Never a good sign when a blood technician calls for a second opinion to check anything attached to you. My blood flow is still going, still going, just slowly…oh wait, it’s stopped all together. More looks passed between the technicians standing over me. Guys, I can totally see you. They ask me who the woman was that did the needle stick, and I describe her, though I don’t know her name. Someone else says she’s on break. So these current technicians shrug. “I don’t wanna adjust it,” one tells the other, “The blame doesn’t go on your record, it goes on the one who did the initial stick,” the other replies. Blame? Uh oh.

It’s here that I realize that the last name I donated at this location (the Crazy Koo Koo Church from last year) was the first time I ever gave blood, and that was where they stuck me in both arms, and gave me horrible bruises that made it look like I was on heroin. Here we are, over a year later, and it’s another bad needle job. People complain about bad customer service at banks, restaurants, insurance companies. But blood drives? Yes, Virginia, you too can get bad needle sticks.

They remove the needle, “It’s been in there for twenty minutes, and nothing’s happening,” he explains. He also calls for a bag of ice, and there’s already some bruising going on. He lifts up the bag, it’s half full. I ask him if he can use what’s been collected, he says no. “So you’re just gonna destroy it?” “Yep.” “But Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior shed his blood for me. I have to complete the Easter metaphor.” The technician laughs and says not to worry about it. Wraps the arm with ice and a bandage. Gives me the usual admonition not to lift anything heavy, or to exercise for 24 hours, and sends me off to the Juice and Cookie table.

And I’m sad. Not upset, I don’t get upset anymore, but I’m sad. I feel like I haven’t really EARNED this grape juice, I haven’t earned this bag of Famous Amos cookies, I haven’t earned the T-shirt they gave me that says Warning, Prone to Unexpected Acts of Heroism. I faced the dreaded needle, I sat there for 20 minutes, and it’s all for nothing. I save nobody today. My blood was shed…and will now be destroyed.

I am an unfinished metaphor on Easter weekend. This blows.

As I make my way to my car, I get to wondering whether every experience you have in life is SUPPOSED to have meaning attached to it. Are we supposed to attach deeper meaning to everything, be it getting out of a car, or watering plants in your back yard, or knee deep in your script rewrite, or giving blood? Or do you drive yourself crazy wondering why this, that and the other just happened. Is it really that some things in life just happen, and they have no meaning at all? If God is sovereign over all our lives, if there’s that cloying phrase that “God is in the details”, isn’t everything SUPPOSED to mean something? One of my Act One teachers sent an email recently saying “If you go looking for God in your daily experience, you’ll find him.” And here I was, reading Ephesians in the midst of a misbegotten blood draw, so where was He? I mean, I could cobble something bleggity like how I’m saved regardless of the works (i.e. donating blood) I do, but that would be an intellectual cobbling, not a present Whack Me Upside The Head Hey, There’s GOD! Experience.

It then occurs to me that um, Hellooooooo. You’re always gonna be a work in progress. You’re never gonna be done. If you WERE done, if you WERE a completed metaphor, you’d be dead. And you would never even know if the metaphor made sense, because you’d be gone.

Right. Right.

Well at the very least, I know I’m never giving blood at THIS location again. Maybe that was the meaning I was supposed to get.

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