If you want to feel really good, read the “Thank You Letters” section in your local paper.
Newspapers are often a source of sad, disappointing or upsetting news. However, sometimes the words within them are pure gold. Our local paper, the Helena Independent Record, occasionally prints thank you letters in the Community section under the heading “Thank Yous.” I just read some of these letters, published on January 3, 2014. They made me feel proud of the newspaper, my hometown, the authors of the letters, and humanity in general.
I am proud of the newspaper, for using precious ink and paper space to print the thank you letters submitted to them. Not only does this provide an opportunity for the contributors to express their gratitude; it gives the readers a glimpse of good deeds that have occurred.
The letters I read today were in response to:
- a donation to a school
- two local fundraising events
- the actions of a caring nurse
- linemen who fixed power lines in subzero weather
- construction of a new bike/pedestrian path for increased safety
- the kindness of a stranger
- a night of great opera
It was uplifting to read about wonderful examples of goodness, which occurred right where I live.
Each and every one of the authors of these letters is to be commended for taking the time to write and submit a note of thanks. The letter that struck me most deeply was entitled “Friendly Town,” and was written by a student who moved to Helena to attend Carroll College. Her letter was beautifully written and expressed gratitude – not only towards a store clerk who lent her money, but also to the support and embracing quality of our entire town. Her appreciation for what she has gained from four years in Helena makes me believe her college has been lucky to have her as a student.
Despite also reading about DUI’s and physical altercations in other sections of Montana news, my faith in the goodness of humanity in general is strengthened from these few letters. For every bad event, it is nice to be reminded that there are organizations and people willing to donate time and money for the benefit of others. It is reassuring to read of individuals willingly provide kindness, quality care and service. A young person who makes an effort to express gratitude is admirable – as are her parents who must have raised her well. Our world is beautiful not only because of the arts, but because of people who value the arts. The letters I read today have given me proof of all of this.
This article has been my opportunity to write my words of thanks, for the hope and pride that reading these letters has given to me today. I suggest you read the “Thank You’s” section in your local paper; you will probably discover good things are happening where you live as well.
More from Susan Foster:
A New Year – a New Road to Travel
First Person: Subzero Weather in Helena, Mont., Makes Life Complicated This Week