What would we do without new beginnings? A new year, a new season, a new school year, a birthday, a new month - and every new day. All opportunities to start over, to do what we didn't do the last time - or to be the person we couldn't manage to be the day before. The newness of anything amounts to possibility and hope. We hope this school year will be a better experience for our child. We hope it won't rain tomorrow. We hope we'll get a lot more gardening done next summer. We hope we'll get to the gym this year. Let's face it - every morning when we open our eyes we hope for something. We're optimistic creatures. Every morning I hope I weigh less than I did the day before (I don't know why though). Every day it is possible that I will hear the voice of one of my children.
So I'm going to start out the new year with a story that will inspire all of us to just be a better person this year. I've heard it in a church sermon. I found it written in Anne Lamott's book Bird by Bird, where she heard it from Jack Kornfield of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center and he claims it is a true story.
An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia, and was told that without a blood tranfusion 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 would 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. He was taken to the hospital and put on a gurney next to his sister. Both of them were hooked up to IV's. 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?"