I have learned far more than I ever expected, from my years-long involvement with that family wholesale business. I never expected any of it. I thought, when I first went to work as a stock clerk in the summer of 1967, that I would work a few summers, save money for college, and then be done with it. I never intended to go to work there, full-time, after I got out of college.
But then, I never anticipated my dad dying of an unexpected heart attack, halfway through my senior year at UGA. Or the chain of events that unleashed.
In retrospect, I am very grateful that that first summer’s job put me on an unexpected path that led to far greater personal growth and development than I had any idea of.
God knew what he was doing when he put me on that path, even if I didn’t realize it, at the time. And every job I have had since then has had its roots in what I learned then.
I have likewise been very grateful to have met and gotten to know so many good people through that business, and to have learned so much from them.
I will be forever grateful to the many folks who helped me along the way: the management and staff of that business, who took a big chance on an untested green youth; the salesmen who helped me with their customer issues; the customers who taught me so much about people, as well as business.
And the many employees I got to know, over the years, whose loyalty to the firm was met by my loyalty to them. I did everything I could to improve their positions.
These are the folks who make the engines run; and without their efforts and support, a company will go nowhere. I am very grateful for their loyalty and support, especially during the lean times, when I could not do as much for them as I wanted to.
The many lessons I learned during my involvement with that business have stood me in good stead, in the many years since then.
Everything I learned there has helped me, in later positions.
Isn’t that the way Life works? We often just don’t recognize it at the time, because we don’t yet realize the “after-effects” that will eventually come, down the road.
It takes Patience, and Vision, to maneuver successfully through Life.
God did not bless me with an abundance of either. I have always had to struggle to find both. But, I am getting better at it.
Look to your own lives, and see if you can find the spiritual thread that unites your experiences.
Look to see if you can understand the connections that underlie your various experiences.
They are there, even if you do not at first see them.
You may be surprised.
And it could open doors to your mind that you did not know existed.
I hope so!
Rafe Semmes is a Savannah native and UGA graduation now living in Midway with his wife and cat.