Where did summer go? Seriously, the summer was a blur for me. There was a ton of travel for business (OSAP meeting in Denver, AGD gathering in Washington, D.C., and Montreal for the FDI meeting), but there were a few days of pleasure as well. I enjoyed relaxing with my daughter on our “Gone With The Wind” tour of the South (who would’ve thought a 7-year-old would love that movie so much?). Our tour took us from Atlanta to Charleston (yes, I did prove to her they rebuilt Atlanta after it was burned). While in Charleston, we took the opportunity to hang out at the beach for a couple of days. Any time you can tackle the ocean waves and just relax, it’s all good.
Well, at least I thought it was all good. On Saturday night around 7, a wave hit me in the back of my head and knocked my glasses off. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there was little chance of finding them. It also didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t exactly see the best without my glasses. So there I was ... with blurred vision and about 1,500 miles away from home. Suddenly that 25-mile drive back to the hotel didn’t seem so exciting. My mind started to go into a frenzy - “Will I be able to see well enough to drive?” “What if I get pulled over?” “How are we going to get through the next three days of vacation?” But Julia’s voice snapped me back into reality. She could see I was worried and said some very simple words, “It’ll be OK, Daddy.”
Those four words meant a lot to me standing on the South Carolina beach. It’s amazing how when someone who loves you gives you his or her support, things really are OK. I still had blurred vision. I still didn’t know how I was going to see very well for the next few days, but I suddenly had a bit of calm about the situation. It’ll be OK, Daddy.
Now if you knew my Julia, you’d know that she’s a lot older than her 7 years of existence on this earth. She sees things very clearly and has some pretty in-depth conversations with her old dad. There are times that her simple wisdom floors me, and this night on the beach was no exception.
Well, we spent the next hour or so trying to protect a sandcastle we had built in the sand from the oncoming waves. We dug a moat. We built sand walls to block the waves. We did everything we could to stop the water from coming, but the tide eventually demolished our castle. When the first wave hit and knocked down the castle’s front wall, Julia looked at me with sad eyes. My response was pretty simple - “It’ll be OK, Julia.”
Amazingly, the rest of the trip was OK. We got up the next morning and headed to the local mall to have new glasses made. Later that day, we headed back to the beach (yes, I left my glasses off this time) and we had a great day in the surf.
This summer was a stressful one for me personally. There were some events in my family that made it not always easy to go home from a trip. Travel became a bit of an oasis for me this summer, giving me a chance to escape problems for just a while. However, I was blessed to have the support of friends who were there to listen to my problems and give me a shoulder to cry on when needed. They didn’t always have the answers to my problems, but they were there when I needed them the most. It’ll be OK.
These last few months have reinforced in me the value of compassionate friends and people who will listen to you without judging you. Sometimes people just need someone to listen and not try to solve the world’s problems. Sometimes people just need someone to sit quietly and understand. Sometimes people just need someone to say, “It’ll be OK.”
I hope and pray you have someone in your life (family, friend, pastor, etc.) who can be there for you in rough times simply to say, “It’ll be OK.” I also hope that you’re that someone for someone else. I saw a quote the other day that said, “Anyone can hear what you’re saying, but it takes someone special to listen to what you’re saying.” I know it was a lifesaver for me this summer, and I am so thankful for friends who listened to me and told me things were going to be OK.
I’ll see you in Philadelphia on the tradeshow floor. Read on, this is your magazine.
Kevin Henry, Editor