Giving thanks

Orange Leaves Illustration Thanksgiving CardIn December, I’m going forward with long overdue knee replacement surgery.

No one looks forward to surgery, recovery and physical therapy, but when you run a small business like Dark Horse, it’s especially challenging to figure out how to keep things on track when you’re out of commission, even for a short time.

It’s not like owning a store, where you already have people in place who are trained as managers and well-versed in running things –– not to mention the fact that you’re selling things that have already been made. 

When the stress is worse than the surgery … 

I have great people on the Dark Horse team, but unless you’ve run a manufacturing business and shop, it’s hard to step in and take charge of everything. In baseball, if your manager had to leave the game, you wouldn’t plug in the pitcher, shortstop, etc. to take over; they know their expertise, but without a manager’s big-picture view and experience, it would be pretty hard for them to run the game.

We have projects to keep on track, and on top of that, I found out that the installation date for one project had to be delayed, a pretty big deal when you’ve been trying to plan your absence right down to the last detail.   

All that is to say: I’ve been stressed about this surgery.

… until a guardian angel shows up.

A couple of weeks ago, I confided in a friend I’ve gotten to know through my involvement with the Cabinet Makers Association, aka the CMA, over the past few years. He has many more years of experience in the industry, and I often call on him for advice or ideas on challenges I might have on a project. 

I told him I was really concerned about how things were going to hang together while I was out, especially the first few weeks – and especially with the installation schedule change. 

After offering up other suggestions to help ease my mind, he said, “If it comes down to it, Atlanta is a short flight, and I’ll come down and oversee things while you’re out.”

I was stunned – and sure I must have misunderstood.

But when I said as much, he said he meant it.

You know, I don’t often admit to it when something strikes an emotional nerve, but my friend’s offer bowled me over. I’m sure there was a long silence on my end of the line before I could get my wits about me and thank him.

Gifts of all kinds

There are many different kinds of gifts and there are many kinds of gifted people, and my friend has the quality of both generosity and a sincerity that makes it crystal clear that when he offers you a gift, he means it.

I believe most of us find it hard to admit that we sometimes need help, and it’s even harder to actually follow through and accept that help. I’m pretty sure this kind of stoic attitude is something we all need to try to let go of, because it’s a rare human being who never needs help. 

I’m going to implement his other suggestions and see how that goes before asking him to be away from his business. No matter what happens, this Thanksgiving, I’d like to share my deep gratitude for my friend who is not only willing to take time away from his work, but also go through the hassle of getting on a plane to give me peace of mind. 

I’m thankful for his time and talents, but also for the gift of being made to feel as though his offer was one I should feel just fine about accepting.

He would never want to be named, but I decided I had to share this story even without his name attached to it. 

The Dark Horse team and I wish you a great Thanksgiving and hope that you, too, have a community like the one I’ve become part of with my CMA friends.