Home » Posts tagged "Thanksgiving"

Having Empathy

Thanksgiving evening MK and I were in Ann Arbor driving around looking for a place to have dinner, everything we own was in the moving truck somewhere between Waco and Ann Arbor. In the new house an Aero Bed served as our bed, it was the only place to sit, except for the two bathrooms and the remains from a pizza from the night before.

Nothing was open for dinner.

I asked Mary Kay to find “downtown” on Waze. We looked for the tallest buildings we could find. We saw one but soon realized it was the “big house,” the Michigan football stadium built in 1927 and holds 107,601 people. It’s the second largest stadium in the world but there aren’t any restaurants open around it.

We finally found downtown. Slowly we drove down the street–all I wanted was dinner, a glass of wine for MK and a place to watch some Thanksgiving Day football.

As we were heading back to the house, we saw an “open” sign at a sushi place – MK loves it. I saw a TV on, and since I love watching football on Thanksgiving, it was a match made in heaven.

We went in and found not only did they have the game on, but they served warm sake for MK and cold Miller Light for me. The place was virtually empty and there was free parking outside on the street because it was a holiday.

The Chicago Bears already beat the Detroit Lions. Yea for my son, Andy, who’s a huge Bears fan, but too bad for virtually every neighbor we’ll have in Ann Arbor.

MK and I were having a great adventure. Our waiter was a friendly young guy in his early 20’s who previously worked there and made his way back after a six month leave.

We love meeting people and learning about them. Our waiter told us his story and we found out he was adopted, wasn’t the best kid and has lived with his birth mom and birth dad but is back in Ann Arbor with his adoptive parents.

In the middle of it he dropped the bombshell.

Less than a year ago, his fiancée was murdered by someone they were trying to help. She was stabbed over 40 times. We both sat there in shock. How do you relate to anyone who has gone through this? What advice can you give?

I truly believe we go through challenges in our lives, to help others. People who we relate to in one way or another, but what does one say when you learn about something like this?

All we could offer was a prayer, encouragement to attend grief counseling, to not lose faith in others, and a nice “welcome back to work” tip. Let’s catapult back to our own lives. First, when you learn about something like this on Thanksgiving Day how do you ever feel sorry for yourself in whatever you are facing?  Secondly, do you think God gives us challenges so we can help others?

Let’s remember to try stepping out of our own lives and seek opportunities to touch others’ lives. We’ll be back to see how our new friend is faring. This was a Thanksgiving we’ll never forget.

Being Thankful Before Thanksgiving

As many of you know, Mary Kay and I are moving to Ann Arbor, Mich. this week. I’m still officially in Waco as the Glass Doctor president until the end of the year, but MK starts her new role as Molly Maid president immediately. My vice president, Brad Roberson, who has been in the glass business for over 20 years as a franchisee and now at corporate, will take over.

I flew into Ann Arbor Thursday night because we were closing on our new home Friday. MK has never driven in snow before and since it was snowing all day Thursday, we agreed I should take an Uber to the hotel.

Mohammed, a man in his mid-20’s picked me up. He moved to the U.S. six years ago from Lebanon. His English, he said, was terrible. His sister and her husband lived in the Detroit area and his entire family moved here.

I asked him why they moved. Mohammed doubted anyone would even ask this question. He beamed while saying it was for the opportunities here. When he came here he was 19 years old and had nothing. He mentioned trying to go to school was a chore because he just couldn’t understand his professors, especially those who spoke quickly.

Now he has a college degree, is building computer boards for the airline industry and recently got married, his wife is also from Lebanon. Traveling back and forth was very expensive while they were engaged. Mohammed told me how hard he had to work to be able to make the trips back home to see her before they were married.

She’s taking night classes to be an interior decorator and working full time during the day.  When she has class, he drives with Uber because he’s also helping his parents out. He explained the move has been difficult for his parents who are now in their early 60’s. They left everything, to come here. Their English is still poor and becomes a burden for them.

Mohammed said his friends in Lebanon can’t find work and that its unemployment is over 58 percent. But he still believes his parents will return to Lebanon as they move into their golden years. He however, hasn’t been back since his wedding and isn’t sure if he will return.

He beamed when talking about how much he has been able to achieve in six years.

America, the land of opportunity.

When I watch the news each night, I see the opposite. My flight was delayed because someone in Austin, where the flight originated, was shooting at airplanes taking off. Inspectors spent an hour at the DFW airport looking for possible damages.

Both parties are angry with the election results. There was a time when two people could talk civilly despite having differing political views, much of that has passed. It’s important to watch what isn’t happening in Congress and the Senate because our representatives simply won’t work with the other side of the aisle.

America, the land of opportunity.

Regardless of the challenges life delivers, I know how blessed MK and I are. This year she’ll even learn to drive in the snow.

Happy Thanksgiving.