So the short version goes something like this: Stopped eating animals. Met a guy who had been doing the same for 20+ years. Moved from NYC to Miami to help him build a business based on love and compassion - a vegan restaurant. Poured my life into this for 3 years. Then the property was purchased by developers. Our restaurant that was built on love and compassion (as well as blood, sweat and tears) was torn down and turned to dust.
But what the short version doesn't mention is that somewhere along the way I met an amazing girl named Emily. She too was building a business and a life based on love and compassion. We became immediate friends. She is one of the kindest souls I know. On the eve of the demise of the restaurant, we held a "farewell bash" as a last hoorah. As I was standing outside of the building that was soon to be dust, feeling a mixture of sadness, confusion, and fear, I looked up to see Emily's beaming and beautiful face. She walked over, hugged me, removed a key from around her neck and gave it to me. She explained to me that the necklace had been given to her by her mother, and she was told to wear until she found someone who needed inspiration more than she did. They key, which is engraved with the word INSPIRE was to serve as a reminder to keep faith and stay strong. As I placed the key around my own neck, I felt an instant strength. My feelings of fear and doubt shifted to determination and fortitude. It was going to be okay.
Fast forward: The building is gone. But the heart of the business that was built on love and compassion didn't turn to dust when the wrecking ball came in. Its physical shell did, but not its life force. All things happen just as they should. We have two other restaurants now, and we won't stop there. We will march on.
Sometimes, to have the strength to march on, all it takes is knowing that someone else believes in you. Thank you Emily. I am almost ready to pass on this gift to someone who needs it more.