It was sometime in the late 1980s.
I was working as an assistant route manager in the circulation department at the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune newspapers in my hometown of Tulsa. My job was to make sure the morning and evening newspapers were delivered to the customers on time.
There was gentleman that I befriended who I met in one of the apartment complexes while delivering newspapers. He was kind man who lived alone.
He may have been a Veteran. He had a hard life that included dipping into the bottle.
At some point during his life, he was a photographer.
Later on, he gave me some of his darkroom equipment he had in a storage building and some old negatives that I still have stuffed in a book.
Anyway, I don’t recall the year, only that it was a few days before Christmas. I knew he was low on funds. I stopped at a local grocery store and bought him a few groceries. I think there was flour, sugar, salt and pepper, bread, canned foods, coffee, bacon and potatoes. The necessities.
I pulled up to his apartment, which was street level. I knocked on the door and he opened it, inviting me inside.
“Ho, Ho, Ho,” I said. “Santa brought you a gift,” I added while unloading the groceries and sitting them on his kitchen table.
Almost in disbelief, he put his burly arms around me and gave me the biggest bear hug I have ever had as tears welled up in his eyes.
I knew he appreciated it and it gave joy to my heart to do something good for this man.
I don’t know what happened to him as that was nearly 35-years ago. It was one of those moments in my life that I will never forget.
I’ve reached out to many people in the years since, but that one experience lives in my memory.
And I’ve had people reach out to me along life’s way.
I remember when I was college at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I had stayed up half the night studying and was home in my duplex sleeping when the phone rang. It was a colleague at the university who called to let me know that his church had taken up an offering and they wanted to give me $100. “How can I get this to you?” he asked.
I met him at the university later that day. What a blessing. It was enough money to buy a pair of much-needed new shoes.
That reminds of the importance of doing good for others and finding the positives in life. They are there. Sometimes you have to do a little digging.
That’s the theme that Debbie and I are taking with us into the new year.
Make 2022 the best year yet
With the new year on our doorsteps, here are some tips to make 2022 the best year ever.
• No matter your background or experiences, you can turn your life around in 2022 and change the direction from negative to positive.
• Your dreams are possible – just don’t give up, no matter what has happened or what others say or think about you.
• Your past is not your future.
• When challenges come, just keep on walking.
• When negative thoughts come, and they will, take a moment and turn off your mind. Shut off your phone and the internet and think of one good thing in your life that has happened. It could be something as simple as a goal you reached or an honor you received along the way. It can be anything, big or small. Write it on a piece of paper and start dwelling on it. I guarantee you will start remembering other good things that have happened to you.
• Read positive things. I like the scripture in the Bible and daily words of encouragement.
• Do something good for someone else. It could be as simple as taking a few moments to stop at a neighbor’s house and check on them. Maybe they need the yard mowed or an errand run. Ask or offer your help. I’m sure they will invite you for a glass of iced cold tea and a snack.
• Turn off the news and find something good to focus on. I call it a stress and worry reliver. You don’t have to know everything that is going on in the world or who said this or said that. These people are not in charge.
• And most importantly, say thank you and please.
• Get involved in a neighborhood group or a cause that helps others.
• Host a fundraiser and give the money to a worthy cause that helps others.
• Go out in the new year and make a difference in your life, your neighborhood, school, church, job, grocery store, mall, restaurant and even at the gas pump.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.