Gratitude and Reflection

I remember having conversations on the floor of AHR in Orlando in early 2020. There was talk of this new superbug that was causing issues in Asia. That year we had the first podcast pavilion, we had great conversations with Alex Meaney, Michael Housh, Andrew Greaves, Jim Bergmann and Rich Trethewey. Leilani and Bert walked the floor making videos with vendors and HVAC School sponsors. This was on the tail end of the first symposium where we got together a merry band of HVAC nerds at our office and learned, laughed and spent time with enjoyable people.

Then the world turned upside down (to quote Hamilton).

But honestly, things kept improving for us in HVAC School and in business. As many people have joked, the pandemic never seemed to come to Florida. It needs to be said, of course, that this was actually not true. We had several people close to us either pass or be greatly impacted and it certainly seemed like the world would never be the same. To be truthful, we can all see that it probably never will.

But without a doubt, 2023 has been the most challenging year I have faced.

Without going into too much detail… We had one of our largest clients cancel all our projects due to a buyout, a significant theft from our business from a friend, personal struggles with depression and general negativity, good old fashioned midlife crisis, deaths, sicknesses, teenagers and run of the mill changes that we all need to face. A few days ago my grandfather passed away and a few days from now I will be having my 41st birthday. I don't expect you to feel sorry for me. I have absolutely NOTHING to complain about and all of the good in my life leaves me far better than I deserve.

And that brings us to Thanksgiving, which has always been and will always be, one of my favorite times of the year. In times of hardship, presidents have used Thanksgiving addresses as an opportunity for reflection. Facing crises that tested us as a nation, they called upon values of unity, courage, and gratitude to inspire hope.

When Abraham Lincoln addressed a country divided by Civil War, he appealed to God and to the shared blessings that persisted, urging Americans toward goodwill. Later, marred by Depression, FDR evoked the ideals of community and “unfailing helpfulness.” As Cold War tensions mounted, Kennedy summoned the determination and resilience of the American people to overcome fear.

My favorite of all was George Washington who established the National day of Thanksgiving when he said,

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

What Washington understood, that I can quickly forget, is the importance of humility and reflection in the light of our tiny but imperative role in a MUCH BIGGER story. A story that we did not write, but one that we get to participate in.

We do not get to decide what will or won't happen.

We cannot see what will be truly good or bad in the long run.

Our current feelings or trials do not need to define us.

Instead we have the opportunity to pause and to look back at all that we have been given and with humility we can be grateful. Not only because of what has happened, but because of what we get to participate in and in our tiny contributions we can see and sometimes even feel the hand of God.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving,
Bryan

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