A lot of people post things they are thankful for during November. My Facebook feed is full of these posts. Reading these posts over the past few days has reminded me of some things I am thankful for and some opportunities I have had that influenced who I am.
I lived in Grand Rapids for almost a decade. There were times when I wasn’t really sure I wanted to live there, often in December or January when the wind was howling, the wind chill was 18 below, and I couldn’t get my Honda Civic around the snow drifts. But there were far more good things and memories from my time in GR and these make me miss the city and my life there.
I was fortunate to work at an institution that valued community involvement. While I would have been involved anyway, this fact helped a great deal and made it possible for me to do things that I cannot easily do now. During my years in Grand Rapids I was involved in volunteering for several non-profits, many that dealt with cancer support and care. I don’t recall exactly how I became involved in volunteering with the American Cancer Society but I am sure that my Aunt Marie was influential since she volunteered for 50 years if memory serves me correctly. Several relatives and close friends have had cancer and that was also part of the impetus. For a number of years I was involved with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life. I also volunteered at Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids, mainly serving lunch but also with other events. The best thing that I worked on was a concert that raised funds for Gilda’s Club and Reeling and Healing of Michigan.
What I was involved in gave me far more than I gave. I’m not posting this to say “look at what I did”. Opportunities to serve are important to me and are part of what I believe is important in life. This fall I had to step back from some things I have been involved in here. That has been difficult and I am trying to figure out what the next step is and how I can re-engage. The right opportunity will present itself, I am certain.