Written by Dylan Woodbury, 2014 Scholarship Winner
To me, outliving yourself means leading an intentional life. It is living with a purpose. For me, it's simply loving God and loving others. This intentional lifestyle involves using what I have gone through to help those around me. It is exactly what Todd and Tara Storch have done with Taylor's Gift Foundation. They have changed so many lives by intentionally using their loss and everything they have gone through, for good. Because of their courage to share Taylor's story with the world, countless people have been blessed.
Our Own Story
We each have our own story, and through it - I believe - the ability to bring people together, rendering healing to one another. Our unique story gives us the opportunity to outlive ourselves, but - especially if we want that to have its full effect - we must be willing to share our story with others. For me, sharing my story has been a challenge. God calls us to be vulnerable so that we are ultimately able to experience renewal. Being vulnerable and opening up to one another is when we truly begin to understand each other and see each other's hearts, learning from each other and living better lives because of it.
Photo: Dylan and Leslie - another 2014 Taylor's Gift Scholarship Winner - about to run the Baylor line at the first football game at McClane Stadium.
When I was thirteen, my dad was incarcerated. This unexpected misfortune initially crushed my spirit and took away much of my joy. My first reaction was to turn away from God in anger, but I eventually realized I could not get through it without Him. This life-changing event caused me to grow in my faith, and my relationship with God was restored. He gave me the hope and strength I needed to endure that tough time.
Over time, I gained a special compassion for teenagers. I wanted to share the hope and love Jesus gave me with other girls facing similar trials. This influenced me to become a youth group leader at my church. I was able to share my story with other girls facing hardships of their own, and as a result, I had the privilege of hearing theirs in return. Listening to their stories, sharing in their pain, and showing them that they can rely on Jesus to help them overcome any obstacle, I've witnessed first hand what it means to help others through vulnerability and a willing spirit. Acting as a mentor for these girls made me realize that I can use what I’ve gone through, taking what I’ve learned from my situation to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Now, I am pursuing a major in Psychology at Baylor University in order to continue my journey of helping teenagers through counseling.
Photo: Dylan with a group of girls on a Mexico mission trip.
Sharing in the Suffering
The truth is, we all have pain. And one has to experience pain in order to understand another’s pain. God calls us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15, ESV). When we share in each other’s suffering, we grow closer to one another and our burdens become a little lighter. When we share our story, God opens doors that we couldn’t even imagine. It also gives us the opportunity to love others, tell them that there is hope, and to remind them that they are not alone.
Organ donation is another example of what it means to Outlive Yourself. It's living intentionally through registering to be an organ donor. It's an opportunity to bring hope to the hopeless. Thousands of families are watching their loved ones suffer, desperately praying the right organs become available to allow for a transplant. Organ donation not only saves lives, it allows a parent to attend their child’s graduation, a grandparent to meet their grandchild, and so much more. Organ donation allows for hope to stem from a mournful situation. A loved one’s passing is tragic, but their legacy can live on through their gift of life. After we die, we do not need our organs or care whether we have them or not. However, patients in need of a transplant do. The more people who choose to become organ donors, the better chance a doctor has at finding the right match for his patient. It’s not everyday we have the chance to save someone’s life, but we can by saying yes to a simple question.
Whether one is sharing their unique story or becoming an organ donor, they are exemplifying the Outlive Yourself spirit.
How Will You Outlive Yourself?
Register as an organ donor, strike up a conversation with someone who needs some company, find a way to give back to your local community... the opportunities are endless. Through acts that are big and small, YOU have the power to Outlive Yourself. Take the Pledge and tell us how you Outlive Yourself.
Are you a high school senior? Do you exemplify an Outlive Yourself spirit in your community? You might be interested in the 2015 Taylor’s Gift Scholarship, presented by Nike.