Giving Back with Gratitude

As I think back over my life, there have been occasions that I have stood back and said, “How was I ever so lucky to have that happen to me?” Those happy instances have made such an impression in my life. I can easily recall the moment, the feelings I felt as if it was happening all over again. Of course, I have also experienced the stressful and unhappy times. Those moments also have made an impression in my life, and I am grateful they are in the past.

graphic with word gratitude

The happy times make me want to give back so that others can experience the joy and happiness that I have experienced.  However, the unavoidable question surfaces as to how, when or where do I start to give back?

Showing Gratitude

Recently, I met someone that knew how to give back and with gratitude.

I was helping to prepare client meals, when a new volunteer Joan (not her real name), joined our group. As we all got to know Joan, we found out she was not a retiree like us. She was a surgical nurse working as part of the face transplant team. To say we were in awe is an understatement. To be a surgical nurse says a great deal about the individual. But to be a part of such an incredible medical achievement is outstanding. I will admit I was in awe of Joan. She was a part of a historical medical event, yet her demeanor was low key, almost humble, kind, and gentle. 

Over the next few weeks, as we continued working together, I asked what brought her to volunteer at Westlake Meals on Wheels. Simply put, her mother-in-law was one of our recipients before her passing. Joan wanted to give back to us while honoring her mother-in-law.

Joan is now a part of a new hospital team. She volunteers with us as often as her work schedule allows. However, choosing to honor her mother-in-law by giving back with an attitude of gratitude is inspiring.

My wish is that we all can honor someone by giving back with gratitude. Take a moment today and review those special moments and people in your life. Then consider how, when, and where you will give back with gratitude.

Pay-It-Forward When You Can’t Pay it Back

Not sure how to show gratitude or honor someone who’s just a memory? Maybe it is a grade school teacher, former coach, friend, parent, or relative? Not everyone has time to volunteer. If that’s you, consider making a Pay-It-Forward donation in memory of that particular person.

“One can never pay in gratitude;
one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.”

– Ann Morrow Lindbergh –