Thanksgiving (French: Action de grâce), or Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’action de grâce) is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. On January 31, 1957, a proclamation was issued stating Thanksgiving was to be “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.
I identify with the original sentiment, celebrate the harvest and blessings of the past year. Life is a series of ups and downs, and I am actually thankful for both. In November of last year, I became a proud Canadian Citizen. At that moment I was thankful to a person who orchestrated the downfall of a business I had worked hard to establish for twenty years!
Those family and friends who know me were amused! ‘Really, you’re happy? Why?’
My reason was pretty simple. I would never have left my native country and ventured into Canada had this person not been in my life. I ran a successful family business, my company exported products to various well known retailers in North America. In the early 2000’s we bought into a manufacturer who made a complimentary product and gave them shares in our company, becoming partners.
Within three years of working together, we decided that I should move to North America which was by far our largest market. This gave me the opportunity to be closer to my customers, interact with them more frequently and hence grow the business. So off I went into the unknown. My family followed within a year. My partner was left to run the business back home.
I worked hard, grew sales and increased margins, but we always seemed to come up short. I had to seek funding from my family to keep the business going. Seven years after getting in bed with this partner, a phone call from a cousin who had helped me out inspired me to pull the plug on my partnership. It didn’t end well. I found that there were financial irregularities at my partner’s end, it seemed his family had been siphoning off sums of money while I toiled.
My position was quite transparent, I asked him to bring in his fair share of the losses, with me having brought money in earlier so we could call it quits and move on with our lives. I have never believed in prolonged litigation as a means to resolving differences. He obviously had no such desire and was willing to make it difficult for me.
In the middle of a severe Canadian winter, I had gone overseas to meet with him and sort things out, he refused to meet me for days on end, while my family faced the winter days without me. My wife didn’t drive, my daughter was young, I thought this was his most cruel deed. So finally, we lost money, six figures, not exactly chump change.
The point of writing all this here? I am still thankful to this man. Had he not come into my life, I would have never ventured to Canada. Had he and his family not cheated me and put me through an excruciatingly difficult time, I wouldn’t have rebuilt a bigger and better business.
The lesson I learned is, I am thankful not only for the positive things that have happened to me, but also for those which have seemed negative at some point. Because it is the sum of our experiences that propels us through life; the good, the bad the ugly. Happy Thanksgiving!