One of my most memorable Thanksgivings was in the very early days of founding Comply365. We started our company in November 2007 – not a great time because when 2008 rolled in, the market crashed. Dude and I had quit our jobs, and we were starting a company in the worst of times. Plenty of people told me to shut the doors before I’d lose everything.
We had very little money because building a business costs you everything, and we were struggling just to put food on the table. Dude and I were also hosting a small group at our home for our church, and most of the people in our group were also greatly affected by the recession – many had lost their jobs. We were all going through some tough times, but Dude and I never told them how bad things were for us financially.
Thanksgiving was approaching as we were living on $50 a week for groceries, gas, laundry and new shoes for our 3 kids. I told Dude that we should prepare a Thanksgiving meal for everyone in our church group. He looked at me like I was crazy, “How could we afford that?” he wondered. I said I’d figure it out, but these people needed encouragement and hope, and we could celebrate Thanksgiving with hope together.
Over the next few weeks, I scraped every penny together that I could find and went to the store. I had bought everything for the meal and had $8 left, thanks to an amazing sale. As I walked by the checkout, I saw a bouquet of flowers for $8, which could serve as the centerpiece for the table. I bought it. I was so proud, and I felt like this was a huge luxury to have a beautiful centerpiece for the table.
No one at that table knew of the sacrifice we made to prepare the meal for them, and that’s what made it so special. I can’t tell you what it did for my soul, for my faith. It filled me up with joy so much that I don’t remember what my family ate the rest of the week, but I can only imagine it was Ramen noodles every night.
Everyone was so grateful, and it seemed as we all ate together that all our cares floated away, which is how I imagine Thanksgiving started. I love everything about Thanksgiving – from the food to getting together with family, friends and watching football.
All of us go through challenging times in life. Maybe this year is your year to help someone. It could be just what you need to lift your spirits like it did for Dude and I so many years ago … and still makes me smile today when I think about it.