Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bleeding and Voting, Inside and Out

What's my Holiday?
My brother was born on a holiday, and my sister was born on a holiday. One day, when this realization hit me, I asked my mother, "What day was I born on?" She wisely told me that I was born on election day, which was true - roughly 1 out of every seven years. I guess I feel some obligation to encourage voting, not just because it occasionally falls on my birthday, but rather because of my deep patriotic feelings that have been around for many, many years.

Yesterday was election day. I voted for who I best felt would manage the interests of the city. Sometimes those decisions are difficult, because you know that there are many, many good men and women who would do a good job. The individuals for whom I voted won.

No Time to . . .
On a final note about election day, it is never about a single day, nor is it about two days, although without voting in the primaries, you don't get to decide who you will vote for later. It is an investment in your future, which if taken seriously, will truly make a difference. Less than half of our city came out to vote. It is very frustrating to me to see the news full of silly, stupid stories, when so many more significant things are happening in the world, and it frustrates me to think that voters can't take an hour or less out of their day to choose their government officials, yet they will sit around for hours and watch TV or search the Internet.

God loves everyone (but the whiners . . .)
I have seen non-voters complain for hours about the government, and I have seen non-voters foolishly try to excuse away their lack of involvement for some "logical" reason or another. While I am sure there are those who have valid excuses, I say, shame on you if you don't vote. Shame on you for throwing away the very freedom for which so many people died and for which so many continue to die. You can vote early, you can plan ahead, and if you are out of the country, you can get an absentee ballot, but nobody can vote for you. Skreeetch! Ballotbox, er, soapbox #1 aside.

Blood is OH SO GOOD!
Today I gave blood. I love giving blood. Not in a masochistic-strange way, but in the way that you feel you are momentarily giving up a bit of your own strength and health to give to someone else who is weakened and unhealthy. Aside from giving away organs, it is a great gift at a minimal cost to the giver. The Red Cross director was there, and came over to chat with me. He thanked me for giving blood and told me that the people who gave blood weren't just ordinary people, they were extraordinary. I smiled, and he said, "It's true! Not just anyone gives blood," and he went on to explain how he missed interacting with these extraordinary people as a phlebotomist. Well, if nothing else, it makes you feel really good giving a drop of life to another human being. (I found a photo that depicts this thought after I wrote this, but it is copyrighted, click to see!)

Free Food and Compliments
After giving blood I attended a special Recognition Banquet. I love hearing all of the marvelous things said about those being recognized. I thought about how lucky our Division director was to be able to read all of those wonderful things about everyone, and he was very sincere and kind. It meant so much to me when he said really kind things to those I know REALLY needed to hear it!!! When you recognize others, they feel good, but you also feel great!

A Tulip that could lift a Ton
When I was in college, and having a really sad day, I took the bus downtown, bought a single tulip wrapped in bright paper, and visited a woman in a rest home not far away. Every time I arrived, she greeted me with open arms, told me I was the daughter she never had, and talked to me about her children whom she missed dearly. Every time I left, she forgot me, but she had a fresh, bright tulip to remind her that someone had visited her recently, and that someone loved her. More than that, however, every time I left, I no longer felt sad. Somehow that sadness melted away during that hour, and I walked away with my chin held up. Maybe that sounds a bit selfish on my part, but blame it on my grandmother, who often took me to visit that well-seasoned, and well-worn ilk of my own species. I suppose you could say that's where I got the idea in the first place.

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