It’s great to be blogging again, this one being the first for 2012.
First, let me give you a little background on Diane Bell. Diane was editor of the Union-Tribune’s opinion pages when she traded her desk job in 1995 to become an items columnist with a focus on San Diego. Diane describes her items column as nosey but newsy. She calls her beat the “offbeat,” the “upbeat” in an ongoing search to capture San Diego’s heartbeat.
Some of Diane’s empowering stories include: A transient man giving a supermarket coupon away to a stranger, not asking for anything in return. A philanthropist who has pledged to give away much of his fortune, emphasizing that giving should come from the heart. An auto mechanic who assists stranded motorists and refuses any payments, receives assistance himself for a breakdown of his customized truck and a cataract that left him legally blind in one eye. An absentee father, save’s one sons life, unites two brothers over a kidney donation.
And this one touched me tremendously.
While waiting for his flight to San Diego in a Boston airport terminal, a grieving man, who had lost his wife to pancreatic cancer, struck up a conversation with a mother and two young daughters at the airport. He learned that the mother’s second husband also lost his wife to cancer five years earlier. During the flight, the man receives notes from the girls, one of which lost their mother.
“One thing I learned from my mom’s death,” she wrote, “is that it happened for a reason. I figured the reason was because I needed to find out who and what I am supposed to be. After a while I learned instead of thinking about all the bad things, to just spend a few minutes thinking about good memories. Maybe that will help you.” She drew an angel.
“Both of the notes show incredible insights into life and love and hope, which have helped me tremendously in dealing with my grieving process,” said the man, who put the originals in his wife’s memorial booklet and has carried copies with him ever since.
Why do I bring these stories up? Because it is stories like these, and the countless many others we don’t hear about, that give our life true meaning. When we make a difference, small or big, to others, we open up our hearts to who we are being and start to show up on this planet, as we share our true kindness we were created for. For there is tremendous abundance in our lives, that money cannot buy.
Things like: unconditional love, respect that is earned, friends that mean the world to you, true forgiveness, genuine happiness, real immortality from talent and perseverance, and real peace from talking, thinking, being empathetic and understanding by loving your neighbor, caring for your family and telling your friends how much they mean to you.
So, now please allow me to get back to my story and Diane Bell. I first tried to contact Diane in February of last year, then again in June and November, before we finally spoke in December. Yes, persistence does payoff. I realize that Diane has a very busy schedule, so I was extremely blessed to have a moment of her time. In fact, we spent over an hour on the phone as the time passed so quickly.
The result of our conversation ended up as a story in the San Diego Union Tribune on January 10, in the local section, with the headline “Man’s mission is getting us all to be grateful”.
For those of you, who have not yet had the opportunity to read the story, here it is:
Two and a half years ago, Dave Block, 44, lost his job as a toll collector for the South Bay Expressway.
The former travel agency owner, who had previously filed for bankruptcy and lost his Chula Vista home, circulated his résumé and applied for jobs.
Instead of dwelling on his misfortunes, though, Block decided to give thanks for what he had — family, health, friendships, and spirit.
Eventually he got a job in Delta’s Sky Club and occasionally works as an usher. Nevertheless, Block decided to make a career out of being grateful to inspire others down on their luck.
He set up a Facebook page, “Dave, The Gratitude Guy.” He filmed a YouTube video on gratefulness with the help of friends he calls his “grat pack.” On Jan. 1, 2011, he began writing a yearlong gratitude blog: mygratitudelife.com.
Due to his backlog of debts, Block says he remains “one payment away from having my car repossessed” but vows to keep going because gratitude brings out the good in life.
Now he is compiling interviews of celebrities who have overcome hardships and hoping his that baseball-sized rubber “Gratitude Ball” he created will catch on. It’s a reminder to folks to connect with and thank others.
Diane, I want to offer you my sincere gratitude for taking the time to share my story with your readers.
My goal is set an example for others to follow that will inspire people to have vision, purpose and faith. I want to encourage people to take action toward their own personal goals through cultivating a habit of gratitude.
All my thoughts of what I could not do turned into beliefs of what I could do as Dave, The Gratitude Guy was born. When I started this attitude of gratitude, I understood that by being who I am, I will attract more of what I truly want in life. I want to share these feelings of love and gratitude with as many people as possible. Together, we can produce enough positive energy to create amazing changes on our planet for generations to come.
I also welcome like-minded individuals to join me on this gratitude journey, as I would love to share some powerful ideas on how by working together we can make a huge difference.
Until next time, live each day as if it were your last. Then you will realize what is really important. And start to be grateful for everything little or big thing that comes your way.