February 4, 2017

“My life is not my own.” –  Brian Bourgraf

To Do Today: “Every day, give that which is dear to you to help others. It may be time. It may be money. It may be attention. It may be a hug.” –  Brian Bourgraf


Your life is not your own

November 24. 2014

Mike Daugherty

Contributing Columnist

In 1968, a couple felt the greatest heartbreak. Their son died.

Through grief and pain I cannot imagine, they found the grace to think of others. Their selfless gift of their son’s organs allowed a second couple to avoid the same grief. They gave life to the other couple’s son. He received new kidneys that day.

As the second boy grew, his constant medical treatment was a reminder that his life is not his own. And as he grew, he began a life of service to others. While working hard in his family’s business, he became a faithful member of his church and his community. And he never forgot to make the time to serve.

While so many people are too busy to help, he found time to work tirelessly, giving thousands of hours to nonprofits in our community. His personal efforts have benefited dozens of them. His personal donations have accumulated in the hundreds of thousands. His fundraising efforts probably account for millions. And he still makes time to drive friends to the grocery store or the doctor’s office when necessary.

A few years ago, those new kidneys wore out. And several times a week my friend had to interrupt his busy schedule of service to spend the day receiving dialysis. During those long, tiring hours, he plotted ways to raise needed funds for yet another charity, and designed equipment to help a local school music program.

His family, however, did not forget the importance of selfless giving. You see, his parents taught all their sons to value others. So his brother gave my friend a kidney. He lived — and he continued serving others.

My friend is now retired and living in Florida. But he has not stopped serving others. And he never will. He continues to donate time and money to benefit people he does not know, just like that couple who donated to benefit him. And he calls me from Florida to check up on the nonprofits he loves in this town that he still calls home.

Whenever my friend makes a donation, he insists that it be kept a secret. He does not want things to be named after him. He does not do it for himself. To respect him, I will not publish his name here, but many of you know.

Every day, we can each say truthfully, “My life is not my own.” Every day, we can give that which is dear to us to help others. It may be time. It may be money. It may be attention. It may be a hug. Whatever God calls on you to give, give it without hesitation or regret.

Although I hope and pray that I am never called upon to make the gift that couple made in 1968, I am so grateful for them. Without their courage, compassion and selfless kindness, so many of us would not have the example of our tireless friend.

His life is not his own, and we are glad to share it.

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