Getting Up Off The Floor–How Sweet It Is!

Getting Up Off The Floor–How Sweet It Is!

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.  Here’s this week’s column:

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April Harris, owner of Marble Slab Creamery in Brookhaven, GA, now seeing much sweeter times after hitting lowest of lows.      

 

Ever been through one of those bend over with pain, hit the floor stretches when you can’t take one more piece of bad news?

            There are indeed bad stretches.

            And then there is April Harris’ life.

            When we got together to chat the other day, she took me back to November 2009. “I found out my divorce was final, the side business my husband and I had started was failing and my regular full-time job would be coming to an end,” she shared.  “And that was all in the span of 30 days.”

            I felt a sock in the gut just listening to her. I, too, know what it feels like to feel my world collapsing around me. I ended a relationship with someone I cared about very much only to find out a week later that I was losing my CNN anchor job.

            It’s that feeling that someone has taken a wrecking ball to your life. What’s left to anchor you?  I now see this phenomenon happen quite often. A parent dies, a spouse asks for a divorce. You lose a job, you get discouraging news about your health. It’s as if once the hinges are loosened, the bad news comes flooding in pushing you down to the floor.

            That’s why I love April’s story. Her bad news eventually lifted her up off the floor. “I had my ‘Can’t deny reality moment,” she told me. “I didn’t want to believe my marriage was ending. I didn’t want to look at the state of the ice cream shop my husband and I had been running together, but I realized I couldn’t stay where I was.”

            Even when she looked at those ugly accounting numbers with eyes wide open, April believed she could save the ice cream business and avoid bankruptcy if she could move the location.  Unfortuantely, her bank didn’t see the same logic and denied her another loan.

            “That made me so angry,” she said. “The bank saw me as numbers on a paper., not as a person. But I wasn’t going to let some banker decide my destiny.”

            So, she did what she calls the hardest thing possible. “I dipped into my 401k. I know that doesn’t make financial sense, but my gut told me I could make this work. Two summers into my store’s new location, we’re turning things around.”

            This isn’t to say April’s story is over. There still are daily challenges. She’s still trying refinance that old business loan. The day we tried to get together, the store’s air conditioning went out.  “Caught a break on that one,” she smiled. “The parts were still under warranty.”

            In my book, April Harris deserves to be celebrated simply because she got up off the floor.  We sure like to make, “Hooray,” when someone’s challenges are over, tied up neatly with a bow, but I think that’s the hardest part of anyone’s heart-wrenching journey is simply getting up off the floor.  Like April told me, “I realized I couldn’t stay there. Somehow, some way, I need to get up and move forward.”  We need to make a bigger deal out that courageous move.

            You listening Hallmark? Where are the “I’m So Proud Of You For Getting Up Off The Floor” cards?

            Maybe you know someone who’s not done recovering but has made it up off the floor. Maybe I’m even talking about you?  I’d love to hear that story. Meanwhile, how about making hooray? I know someone who can make you an awesome ice cream cake to celebrate.

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