What Feels Good..
When I’m at the gym, I listen to my iPod with such intensity that I typically have no clue what is going on around me. It’s the only way for me to work hard – I need the rhythm. There are tv screens all over the place – your eyes can’t avoid them (probably a good thing, so you don’t end up staring at other people – that would just be weird for everybody). So the news is on…I’m reading that the President’s dog needs to go on a diet. Ok, we’ve had three Portuguese Water dogs, I love the breed, Bo is adorable. Cute piece. There was some discussion about who was going to replace Regis Philbin on a morning talk show. Yawn…Some guy wants to be on a dance show…Prince Harry playing in Vegas…I begin to look down, nodding in time to The Killers.
The screen switched to the in-studio couch and there is a glowing African-American woman sitting there. She is in cancer remission due to a bone marrow transplant provided by an anonymous donor. Her smile was wide, her warmth palpable. In the wings her husband was grinning and taking pictures, her children watching seriously as she anticipated meeting the donor for the first time. This woman was extraordinary in spirit and determination, yet clearly with a lovely, soft touch. Finding donors for African-American leukemia patients is particularly difficult, with a smaller percentage of donors, and matches few and far between. And though she remained hopeful, by the time she received the call that a donor had been found she was exhausted. Her donor was a 100% match – incredibly rare indeed. We learn that the donor is a senior in college, and he is then introduced. A handsome young white guy. I’m watching, the music in my ears is now Greg Allman’s “I’m No Angel” and tears are streaming down my face. These two marvelous people, hugging and recognizing the heroic proportions of their story. He saved her life; she fought to live. And the words that kept repeating across the bottom of the screen “I love you” “I love you too” “I love you”…
This isn’t a pitch to become a bone marrow donor (though I think if you can, it’s a wonderful thing to do). Nor is it a recommendation for morning television (remember before this story, I was reading a ticker dealing with Bo’s weight, Regis Philbin and a reality dance show – which in and of itself is an oxymoron, but whatever). What stayed with me was the sheer beauty of two people from different places, of different ethnicity, age, marital status etc, being perfect for each other in the most life affirming way possible. Put all else aside – the derisiveness of the US political campaign rhetoric, the divisions we create to further our own sense of rightness (or leftness), the preconceived notions we may hold about/against others. Put it away. It doesn’t help you or anyone else. On the contrary, it diminishes the fundamental reason why we’re all here at the same time. To make one life better maybe? To love our family and our friends without qualification? To feel the wonder and power and humility that comes with knowing that each of us can change the course of another person’s life by a word or deed? I’m done – this is going to become trite and drenched in a syrupy clichéd concoction and that’s the last thing I wish for you to take away from this. I hope it makes you feel good, and warm, and important to many – even those you may never know. “And it’s ever present everywhere…” Enjoy.