I read a few lines in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird (a truly lovely read) that I wanted to share with you.
An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukaemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked if he could give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.
The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”
That love. It just knocks me over.
Whatever we see around us, in these strange, tumultuous times we live in, there’s always that love here too. Naked, innocent, unbelievably courageous love. Always.
It is the stronger force. I forget that sometimes, but the words above reminded me, and that’s why I wanted to share them with you. Because nothing is more important than remembering who we are. To know love, in and around us.
I see it in our willingness to give. Give of ourselves; give all we’ve got, sometimes. Give what is needed to make right, to support and hold and strengthen and give joy. We don’t have to but we do it, daily, over and over again. We give what we’ve got. It feels inadequate but we keep doing it. We keep trying. We keep loving. Because that is what we do. That is who we are. Love.
Let’s try to remember that.