I’ve been pouting. And dreading writing an article about gratitude because I was having a tough time finding words to be “motivational.”

First of all, I am apparently not designed for a career in sales.

A few months ago Dawn made an amazing business connection that was very passionate about our Ugandan campus. They wanted to support Soul Creations in significant ways, and asked us to reach out with examples of our products etc.

Subsequently, multiple conversations were had between us both separately and the owners and excitement continued to build. The conversations were consistent, committed, and promising.

Then, last week Dawn called me, “They are placing an order . . .”

I’ll spare you the details, but the order was going to be over $8000, clearing in monies for Kigbuma Campus, over $2000, and we’d have another $1500 to buy supplies, etc. for SOUL. We were so grateful. And panicked, b/c we did not have in house what we needed to make an order like that happen. They wanted the order by Black Friday.

We did the follow up conversations, the prototypes, all the things I’ve learned by listening to many of you talk through your careers, etc. And we ran things by some of our Board of Directors, making sure we were on the right track.

We thanked them . . . we gave them pictures of the families in Kigumba that this order would be buying flour, sugar, and rice for this Christmas Season.

Again, I’ll spare you the GORY details, but the bottom line is the order came in.

The $8000 order became one of $176. That barely covers the cost of the expedited shipping of the fragrance oil so that the order could be filled for Black Friday.

So, I’m embarrassed. Disappointed, Thinking of all the mistakes I made. Mistakes that cost money . . . . and to me, this money is sacred. (I guess all money is sacred if we recognize that everything we have comes from God). Anyway – I was trying to keep it from ruining our few days out of town, but frankly, I’ve been pouting.

This morning I was among the early birds at Harris Teeter.

As I was grabbing the broccoli, the gentleman placing it on the stands commented that it is a never-ending process. (As fast as he could put it out, others were taking it). We laughed and I walked away. Something nudged me to go back and thank him for the work he was doing, so I did.

“Thank you for what you do. What you do enables folks to have what they need for a holiday.”

He shared that he was new at Harris Teeter, moved here recently in hopes of retiring soon but just a few weeks ago learned his wife has been diagnosed with MS. Now, there would be no retirement, she needed health insurance. And to top it off, their dog of 12 years died last week.

I shared that I am a pastor and our church would pray for them. So, if you would, pray for Dale and Lenny. He thanked me profusely, and I’m sure I will see him again (probably later today because I’m never organized enough to have Thanksgiving Prep in order).

But . . . meeting Dale today put the rest of the stuff in perspective and I’m no longer pouting.

Life bites sometimes. Things we think we will happen, don’t. Promised or “deals” become broken, and it just doesn’t work out the way we want it to.

However, life is also beautiful.

You can find community, love, and safe spaces in the vegetable section at Harris Teeter.

You can know that if you are reading this, you are part of a community that loves ALL people unabashedly and stands behind that promise.

You can know that as Rev. Amy Coles said so beautiful Sunday, “God’s love never quits!” So, you are never, ever, ever alone!

I hope that wherever you are in life, you’ll look at your circumstances and even if there is disappointment or pain, you will also find gratitude and joy.

Later today we will send you our email for Ding Dong Ditch, our Christmas mission. Please take the time to read that and make that a priority this Advent Season.

And – know that we, your staff, are grateful for you.

Yesterday Dawn said, “I’m sure there are lots of lessons we will learn through all this but one of the biggest ones is the amazing nature of the West people. They were willing to make this happen, even on a holiday, because they believe in the vision.”

Happy Thanksgiving!