What prompts someone to do good works, to extend themselves beyond their comfort zone, to help a less fortunate soul, a person in distress, be it physical or emotional?
For me, it’s often a result of creating an association with a person or an event, a tangible link from my past that prompts an action in the present.
Case in point—our temple ran a short notice in the weekly announcements seeking bone marrow donors for a member of a different congregation in Riverdale. In the past I’d always shied away from even considering the thought of a bone marrow donation. I shuddered at even the test, though nowadays it is rather benign, a simple cheek swab to determine compatibility. The actual bone marrow donation also has passed from being needle-scary to the painless routine of giving blood, Gilda assured me. Still, I resisted offering myself to a total stranger.
It wasn’t until I saw the name of the man seeking help that I was shaken from my indifference.
Matt Fenster. I don’t know him at all, I know nothing about him other than he is suffering from leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Yet I feel a certain kinship with him. You see, in high school I had a teacher who for some reason could not remember my last name was Forseter. He always called me Fenster, so much so that my friends started calling me Fenster as well.
So later today I will drive down to Riverdale and be tested for a match. Even if I can’t help Matt Fenster, perhaps I’ll match someone else in the national registery.