I gave blood last Sunday. Our church does an annual blood drive. My friend Kent attends GracePointe and is the area director who oversees donations for the Red Cross. You know they are serious when they show up with three bloodmobiles.
It’s cold and cramped and full in there. Happy people taking care of the bleeders, everyone part of a constant motion. I’m reclined at one of the stations and the phlebotomist is all business. She hands me a red rubber ball and tells me to squeeze. After my life source is flowing well I lay back and relax and think about taking a little nap. But before I can settle in she gives me a quick glance and tells me to “keep squeezing. Keep your grip tight or your flow will decrease.” (I didn’t know that.)
Keeping a grip gets more important all the time. My grip on parenting, exercise and diet are in need of constant focus now. And holding on to something gets harder with age. I remember shaking hands as a younger man and attempting to deliver a crush in answer my friend’s iron grasp. Sometimes I would win, other times I would succumb to his pressure. It was all in good fun then. Now the crush has a more profound impact and the crumble is uglier.
So it comes down to just keep squeezing. What I think of as my life source amounts to staying engaged. Trying to really listen, thinking as much as watching and respecting someone else’s journey is what creates the flow. The “ugly” now looks alot like dogma, a lazy closed mind and an expectation for the future based on the past. (I realize at this point I have crossed the line where metaphor becomes corny so I will be done.)
I try and give blood once a year. I need to be reminded of the squeeze more often.