Giving thanks and adding to someone’s list

November 28, 2013

giving thanksBy Carrie Klemm. MCP Correspondent. 

It’s that time of year, the time to give thanks. I have been roaming around the county over the past few days asking the age-old question, “what are you thankful for this year?” I love this question. It provokes a smile and a moment of silent appreciation.

“I am thankful for my family and friends, and for the fact that I get to be here with them,” said Steve Underwood of Ludington

“I am thankful for the Ludington Area Center for the Arts,” stated Linda Sardow of Ludington. “The community of visual artists and authors is what brought me here.”

“I have a long list,” said Char Morse of Whitehall. “Whether it be large things, like family and health or smaller things like having a heated home or indoor plumbing, I always have a list. I find that if I look on the bright side of life and remember the long list of things I am thankful for, the gratitudes keep coming.”

Morse went on to say that because of the heavy snowfall, she was unable to get her car out of the garage that morning. Instead of dwelling on frustration, she chose to be thankful that she had access to a spare truck to drive to work. When she went to leave work at the end of the day, she climbed back into the truck and it wouldn’t start. She chose to be thankful she had a husband to come meet her, wait with her for a tow truck and eventually provide a ride home. Though transportation proved difficult for the day, her smile beamed while she talked to me.

I have a list as well, each day I find something new to appreciate. I am, for one, thankful for my father’s side of the family who meets every Wednesday morning for breakfast. Today, my aunt, Barb Gutschke of Ludington, spoke of a time when she was waiting in a checkout line with two items in her hands. Behind her was a woman who had a cart full of future purchases.

“She had started unloading her cart when she saw that I had just two items,” Gutschke said. “The woman immediately took her things off the counter and let me pass in front of her. I was so surprised, people can be so nice.”

Which brings me to ask: why not help each other add to our lists of gratitude? It doesn’t have to be just just once a year, but every day, pay it forward.

If you donate to charities or take a friend or family member into your home, you are a huge contributor. Though I may not know your face, I am thankful that you are in this world with helping hands. We can’t forget, however, that small things go a long way, too.

A friend of mine recently started a group on Facebook called “Love, A Stranger.”

“Love, A Stranger is a project with the intention of spreading some light through little notes of encouragement and affirmation,” the page explains. “We often tell our family and friends we love them, but how often have you told a stranger that they are loved?”

Notes of cheer have been left on car windows, between cereal boxes on market shelves, beside public bathroom sinks, and every other place where one can tuck a slip of paper. I asked if she has had anyone question her when walking up to a car with a note.

“I have, but once he realized the intention of it, he smiled,” she says. “Everyone seems to like getting a little love.”

This friend chooses to remain ever the silent stranger, but invites others to participate, whether they follow her page or not.

I hope this holiday season finds you with an extensive list of things for which to be thankful and I hope you choose share the love in your own way.

As for me, I am thankful for my family, friends and the fact that I grew up in a great little town on Lake Michigan. The list continues, and for that I am ever grateful.

Safe Travels and Happy Thanksgiving!