In this short video, David Jones shares his story of finding gratefulness through challenges, appreciating friendship, and gratitude as a healing force.
“If we lose somebody in our lives to a disease, there was something that needed to be healed. If we lose somebody to violence, there’s something in our cities that needs to be healed. And the gratitude for me is knowing that I might have an answer to some of the things in my life and some of the things in my community.”
Bright Lights/Young Lives is a special project within our Grateful Voices video series which aims to uplift the personal stories and reflections of young people, aged 16 – 30 years old. The series is made up of short-form documentaries featuring young adults from a variety of backgrounds talking about what it means for them to live gratefully, how they embody this commitment, how gratefulness was awakened in them, and why they believe it matters and can make a difference in our world. The intention of these stories is to demonstrate the reality and relevance of Grateful Living across a diverse, inclusive continuum, and to share the insights, grateful perspectives, and rich sense of possibility that so many young people hold. In this short video, we hear from David Jones.
My heart is filled with gratefulness. It feels like a steady warmth when it’s hot, but it’s not humid. It’s a constant warmth like that temperature that your body’s at, 97 degrees, it’s just there. It’s sustaining you.
My name is David Jones. David, meaning beloved. Jones, it’s like a derivative of Johns, Johnson, Jones, Hebrew, Scottish. Now I’m just Black American. I’m from West Philadelphia, you know, unironically, born and raised. I’ve been in the same house my whole life, 24 years. I work in the securities industry — I work in finance. I work with clients, people who want to move money around outside of work.
I’m a poet, a silent rapper. You’re not gonna hear anything from me. And then, you know, just a lover of all art.
I lay my heart bare, and my biggest fear is you see it and you wouldn’t care. My vulnerability’s waist deep. Just enough to go swimming in to pick up my pen again. I thought you’d drown if I told it all.
So I think if I had a real superpower, I would want to heal sicknesses. If I could, you know, wave my hand over the blind eyes and just go, ‘You can see now.’ Because that provides real value. I could teleport and still grab somebody who’s just as finite as me, but if I could give somebody new legs, help somebody see, think about giving somebody the tools or just helping them, fixing the tools that they were born with.
I kind of just look at everything or challenges more so as something to overcome. Even if it’s just a little roadblock. I was a kid that liked hopping fences. Enjoying the climb, quite honestly. And I think, yeah man, I’m grateful that this is challenging. I’m feeling a lot of difficult things as of lately and I’m just trying to like, this is pushing me, propelling me, like I’m grateful that this has happened.
Clean water, golly. I wake up every morning, dehydrated. You know, we all lose sleep and you know, go to sleep. But I wake up every morning and I can just… [picks up a cup of water and takes a sip] …just like that.
I don’t take friendship for granted. I really do mean that. Every time I’m around people that I love, I feel like I can do anything. I’m grateful for my friends. I tell them that at least every other time I’m seeing them. I’m just happy to have people that love me in my life, man.
If we lose somebody in our lives to a disease, there was something that needed to be healed. If we lose somebody to violence, there’s something in our cities that needs to be healed. And the gratitude for me is knowing that I might have an answer to some of the things in my life and some of the things in my community.
Bright Lights/Young Lives has been executed in honor/memory of the extraordinary life of Julia Burke, who lived her passion for life out loud. Funding for the series came from The Julia Burke Foundation. The videos were produced by Greg Corbin and edited by Brandon Holiday. The Grateful Living Team oversaw the project with grateful hearts.