Every quarter, we have a blood drive at our office. I always sign up to donate, having received blood before and knowing that I will likely need it again in the future, given my frequent visits to the hospital for my GI problems. Seems like a sound investment. As I was filling out the questionnaire today, I checked the box that asked if I have recently traveled outside of the United States or Canada. As the rent-a-tech du jour, Blood Collector Chuck was going over my answers, he asked where I had traveled. I absently said “Mexico” as I scrolled through my emails on my phone. Mayhem ensued.
“MEXICO?!?” shrieked Blood Collector Chuck.
“Well, are you FEELING okay?”
“Do you know that you can get MALARIA in Mexico?”
“Um…yes, but I—“
(whispering) “—you can get MALARIA.”
This last “malaria” was said reeeeeeally close to my face. I could almost feel each syllable on my skin.
“Look, Chuck—I wasn’t like in Mexico. I was at a resort with my husband, and we didn’t drink the water, or machete our way through the uncharted jungle, or hang out in any murky pools of mosquito-infested swamp water or anything.”
He looked at me with one eyebrow raised, and then dramatically slashed a huge “X” on my questionnaire, writing “REJECTED” at the top of it. As if that didn’t communicate the point clearly enough, he sat up straight in his judgment chair and said “You have been REJECTED today, but don’t give up.” Having delivered this swift blow of blood-rejecting justice, he put one hand on my shoulder, gave me a little squeeze, and whispered “Don’t give up.”
Give up? On what? On WHAT, Chuck?
Alas, before I could implore him to give me the answer, he had moved on to the next donor, eager to find out what horrible disease they were plotting to bring down on the blood-receiving community.
The receptionist handed me a brightly colored “We Don’t Want Your Disgusting Blood, You Creep” letter and a pity gift card as I shuffled off in my cloud of rejection. My co-workers smugly looked on from their donation tables, no doubt wondering which one of the questions had rendered my blood unworthy. I wanted to shout “I just went on vacation, people. I didn’t #11 (engage in unseemly activity with a male prostitute). Settle down!” Instead, I defiantly grabbed one of their stupid stale cookies and a juice box and made my way back to my office with all of my blood intact.
As odd as this particular donation experience was, I was forced to think about Blood Collector Chuck’s sage advice. “Don’t give up.” I tend to beat myself up when things get rough. I continually press “rewind” on conversations and experiences and chastise myself when something doesn’t go exactly as planned. There are days when I feel rejected as a parent, employee and human being in general, and I tend to focus on what I could have done to avoid that sting of rejection. There are far more days, however, when I feel blessed and encouraged by my children, employer and the general population. Why do we choose to focus on the days that bring us down, and gloss over the days that build us up?
I recently took a social media challenge called “100 Days of Happiness” in which you were required to post a picture of one thing that made you happy, every day for 100 days. I discovered that my challenge wasn’t in finding something that made me happy. The challenge was picking only one thing. If you would have asked me prior to starting that challenge if I was happy, I probably would have given you a “yes, but…” answer. “Yes, but I wish I didn’t have a GI disorder.” “Yes, but I wish I had more hours in the day.” “Yes, but my job is really demanding.” You get the idea. As I focused on the good in my life, I realized exactly how much good there is on which to focus. What a blessing. Why do I let the days when I experience a little rejection overshadow the days that are filled with so much that is good? I clearly need to knock that off, for Chuck’s sake.
Hoping your day is free of rejection, but if it’s not, I hope you at least get a juice box.
This one’s for you, Chuck.