Ignoring the Signs

As logical as I am, I believe in signs.  For example.

In 2006, I saw an Amish farmer trying to sell a crate of yapping mutt puppies to a pet store in Chicago.  The store owner didn't want to buy the farmer's dogs, saying they were too old.  There was one dog in the crate that sat completely quiet, his eyes fixed hard on mine.  I thought it was a sign.  That puppy is now my 12 year-old dog, Hank.

In 2011, I had just started thinking of playing the guitar when I went into Chicago Fret Works (the best local repair shop) to have them fix my broken banjo.  When I walked into the shop, there was a beautiful old Stella guitar on the wall.  The person behind the desk said it was an abandoned instrument: the owner had dropped it off to be repaired, and then never came back for it. I thought it was a sign.  I bought the guitar for a song, dubbed it "Loretta," and it's still my favorite guitar.

In 2017, my daughter was going to be named "Annie" until I went into labor. On the way to the hospital, we turned on the radio. Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" was the first song that played.  I decided it was a sign.  Now my daughter is named Johanna.

And here we are in 2018, and I think I've finally learned that there are times in life when it's important to ignore the signs.

This was one of those weeks.

Since I began my restaurant project, I've run into every obstacle.  Despite a thousand signs to stop, I persisted. This week--my last week of construction--was one of the most difficult yet.  It started early Monday morning with an epic knock to my head with a piece of oak, a large financial mistake, blistering heat, a huge amount of work to complete, and a shortage of time and volunteers.

All signs pointed to "I'd Turn Back If I Were You."

But instead, I just worked harder. I kept my head down. I put in a few sleepless nights.  By the time Friday night rolled around, the construction was complete.  The cheap cold beer we drank around the bar was the best cheap cold beer I've ever had.

As I sit here tonight, I feel at peace.  The restaurant has been built.  The painters and floor finishers start tomorrow.  All of the equipment is on its way. And I even managed to spend the weekend with my kids and write a song this morning before everybody else woke up.

Reader, if you happen to have one of those tough weeks this week, I thought I'd pass along a reminder: hard times aren't a sign that you shouldn't be where you are. Hard times are around to build our character, fortify our vision, and give credence to our merits.

And also to make the cheap cold beer taste good.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.  See you next Sunday. -Em

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