When it comes to thrill rides or risk taking – I’m the guy that is always off to the side. I am the most risk-averse person you’ll meet. Ironically, however, I voluntarily donated my kidney to a total stranger.
How do I reconcile this enigmatic reality? On the one hand, I’m terrified of needles, but on the other hand, I willingly gave away a vital organ! It makes no logical sense whatsoever!
The answer is simple. It really comes down to gratitude.
When a person looks at what he or she has been blessed with in life, their blessings can either be seen as entitlements or as gifts.
For me, the eternal optimist, I have looked at all that I have been fortunately blessed with in life and realized I did nothing special to warrant so much, including having two healthy kidneys. I was simply born that way. Yet, when I learned that others were dying, fighting for a chance to live, I looked at my second kidney and knew that it was a gift. No longer could I take it granted, rather, I would lovingly share with someone else.
The more I focused on how grateful I was for the many blessings in my life which were given to me for no apparent reason, the more I was overcome with gratitude, joy, and love. Eventually, I felt compelled to express that gratitude by paying it forward. Thus, giving a kidney became a way in which I could continue to celebrate my own life, by sharing life with others. Today, an amazing single mother of three children enjoys an incredible new life, because of that gift.
As you can read in my book, The Kidney Donor’s Journey, I am not on a crusade to convince people to donate their organs. However, I am a big believer in people living the most enriched and fulfilled lives possible. Gratitude can be the powerful engine to change our own lives if we simply allow it to.
All we have to do is look to our right and left and notice people around us on a daily basis that are suffering. Whether it is a lack of money, friends, or if one is struggling with physical illness, there are countless ways in which we can use the lives and gifts we were blessed with to enrich others.
Believe it or not, prior to donating my kidney, I had never before even donated blood. The thought was just too overwhelming. However, today, my entire perspective has changed. I now walk through life, aware that the answer to another person’s pain and suffering is literally coursing through my veins. What would my life be like if my body could not produce the healthy blood I needed to survive?
Yet, for some reason, I was one of the lucky ones and I can enjoy a virtually unlimited supply of healthy blood. This allows people to donate every 56 days and give life to those undergoing surgery, cancer treatments or battling hereditary blood disorders.
Therefore, the way in which I express my gratitude for my own health is to literally roll up my sleeves and offer a small token of what I have been blessed with. The notion of donating blood, plasma or platelets has now become an important value to me and an expression of my own love for life.
While I still avoid roller coasters, I no longer fear needles. Each and every human being has the capacity to enrich their own lives by helping others. See for yourself how giving is the best way to improve humanity.
How can YOU get involved? Find out at BeImpulsiveRSVP.com. #BeImpulsive.