When I’m working, I don’t have much time to blog – I used to be able to blog in the evenings from my laptop, but that suddenly died on me a few months ago, and we’ve not been able to afford another. My PC takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to boot up, and I am not inclined to trot up to my study after a day’s work, to wait for ages and then to write a post. Last week I had a tad more free time so I was able to start with a post every day…next week, maybe not. But I do try to post on the 40Acts FB page too.
So this is a bit of a catch up post:
No, LOL cat! I must catch up on my blog!!
PROMPT: Today is a chance to, quite literally, bring life to someone. Giving blood is such a potent image of generosity, because it’s giving away something so critical to ourselves – our actual lifeblood! And that can train us into sacrificial generosity in other ways, too.
Green: Find out about giving blood at http://www.blood.co.uk and make a one-off trip.
Amber: Start giving blood regularly.
Red: Give blood as often as you can.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)
Oh! I was surprised at how much controversy this caused! A lot of people on FB were fairly upset that all the Challenges focussed on giving blood. There was no “non-donating” challenge. Of course, many people are precluded from giving blood, because of illness (like me), or needle phobia , or because they are a non-celibate gay man (STUPID!!!!!) (The rule, not the gay men!) or because of the idiocy of their country who won’t accept their blood because they lived in the UK during the Mad Cow outbreak even though France had it too (that’s me too)
But there’s no edict from 40 Acts saying that “the only blood donating related act you can do today is give blood”. I just shrugged my shoulders, said “I can’t do the act, but I can encourage others to give blood” – so I wrote a post for FB, and also gave a shout out to my nephew who went a step further and donated bone marrow. There was no need to get up in arms that I couldn’t do it. Others supported blood-donating-connected charities, such as Blood Bikes or went to a local centre to encourage the volunteers, and nurses who were there. I didn’t quite understand why some people got quite so worked up about the focus of the Acts. Hey ho.
After all, the aim of 40 Acts is being generous, finding a way to go an extra step or two…It doesn’t have to be exactly what it says on the day’s post. Sigh.
PROMPT: ‘Being present for someone’ might conjure up images of therapeutic chats and tissue boxes. But really, all it means is intentionally putting yourself in the presence of others, for their benefit. It’s giving the best of your time and the best of your attention to make someone feel valued. Maybe today that’s someone who you’ve overlooked, or who doesn’t usually get invited out.
This is a good reflection, reminding us that we need to support friends through good and bad times. I’d like to add a Thank You to those friends, both “real life” friends and blogging friends, who supported me so much during my last year. I wasn’t always cheery, but I knew that folk were there, to talk or not to talk. To make me laugh. To sympathise. You were invaluable.
ACTS: Green: Spend some quality time listening to a friend or family member. Why not have breakfast or lunch together today?
Amber: Strike up a conversation with a colleague or classmate who you haven’t ever sought out friendship with. Make sure the first three questions are about them.
Red: Be present with quality listening. If someone has shared their worries with you recently, follow up with them and try not to jump in with advice before it’s due. If you’re up for it, take some courses (like this one) to help you get better at listening.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV)
This is quite a tricky one for me – I don’t meet up with friends very often, and work is fairly manic so sitting down with a colleague for a heart-to-heart isn’t really possible.
But I decided that today would be the day when I got off my backside and arranged to visit someone who I do consider a friend, but who I rarely see. Charlotte befriended me in the hospital during my first chemo session, and helped me feel better about it all. She has terminal cancer, having chemo every three weeks, and so our sessions often overlapped as I was on a three week rota too. She is so cheerful, and optimistic, despite her terminal prognosis, and the last time I visited I spent ages talking to her. But she lives some distance away, and I don’t want to disturb her if she’s just had chemo, and I’m busy at the weekend and…and…
So I read the challenge yesterday and immediately messaged Charlotte to ask if she was free this weekend. She is, so I’m going to see her this afternoon (today’s Saturday) And I will make sure that my first three questions are about her!! I’ve made scones to take, with some marscapone and strawberry jam too!
I also popped in to see my friend Monique – she lost her husband a couple of months ago – with a tiny plant…Gave her time to talk a little. It’s hard for her, but she is, little by little, coming to terms with it.
PROMPT: How do you view the resources you have at your disposal? Are they there for your benefit only or the benefit of those around you? Today we’re dropping our personal intentions for things we own and using those very things as generous gifts for someone else.
ACTS: Green: Think of an everyday item that’s in good condition. Find a recipient and give it away. Umbrellas, handcream, etc.
Amber: How do you get around? Can you give a friend a lift too?
Red: Just like Mary with her alabaster jar, what can you give away that you can’t undo? Maybe it’s a bottle of perfume, or a favourite jumper. Bless someone else with something that means something to you.
“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’” (Mark 14:3–6 NIV)
When I saw these Acts I immediately thought “Ah, the amber one!” You see, over and over I’ve thought I really should put my journeys to work on BlaBla Car – but actually, that’s quite a selfish thing, because you get money for it! But I should still do it! I know the times I’m going to Clermont, even if I don’t know exactly what time I’m coming back, so I could easily post those times and take somebody. It means that I’m not just one person in the car.
But in my heart of hearts, I knew that actually it was the Red challenge that was calling me… As I said before I’m visiting Charlotte this afternoon. She is a wonderfully flamboyant person, and I have a scarf that I love. It’s a muted brown/maroon paisley pattern, but on it are pearls and sequins, all shiny and pretty and “out there”. It’s lovely. I will admit I don’t wear it very often, but I love it. Dammit, God, I thought, you want me to give that to Charlotte, don’t you?
I’ll do BlaBla Car too.