Lilian “Bloodworth”: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

A Woman Who Lived up to Her Name

Howie Espenshied / 3.30.20

There’s a beautiful tale told on NPR on the morning of Friday March 27, 2020 about Lilian Bloodworth. Lilian (now 92) tells the story that she can remember about when she had pneumonia before she was three. She was in a hospital, lying next to her brother who was giving blood for her blood transfusion, which helped her survive pneumonia. Blood banks require a minimum of 56 days between blood donations for a person. “I was there every day on the 56th day!” she says. As a mom, she gives an account about when her child needed a blood transfusion after an accident, and he received it, and he lived.

“Our eldest son had had surgery, and had received blood. A lot,” she recalled. “So I thought it might be nice to try and put some of the blood back into the bank. So, I do it every 56 days. Not one day shorter.”

Now, in the last few years, when Lilian has gone to give blood, she jokes about her name with the people at the facility. They routinely ask her, “Come on, is your name REALLY Lilian Bloodworth?”

“When I first started, I would have donors read my name tag and ask if that was really my name or was that a gimmick for the blood bank,” she said.

True blood, indeed. Lilian can no longer give blood because the blood bank told her “you now need it more than others need it from you.” So at 92, she has retired from giving blood. In her lifetime, she has given over 23 gallons of blood.

So now, we face a shortage of so much that we need (masks, beds, toilet paper, thermometers, people who might dare try to “love their neighbor as they love themselves”, etc.). I have a story about thermometers; they are way more helpful for those of us with broken thermometers and plenty of hand soap. And then we find Lilian. She can’t give anymore. They literally won’t let her.

But we have a Christ who IS. Not “was,” is. He didn’t retire at 92 from too much self-sacrifice and noble service to his neighbor. He didn’t live for a lot of years so that He could just be an “example” for how to live. He spilled out all of His gallons, in mercy, not because His brother gave Him blood when He was little, and not because He fathered a child who needed blood. He shed his blood for us, while we were yet sinners. The Christ who IS did that.

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