The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.
TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
When Life Goes Softly...
Life is a gift – but we often feel we should be able to hold it in our own hands, unwrap whenever we want and play selfishly with it so that we might find gain when others feel pain. Anyone can steer a ship through a calm sea – it takes a master to find safety within a storm. We must learn that life provides us with a plethora of opportunities and a fistful of challenges – that there are some things we can control and others that will only frustrate us should we resolve to understand them. We tend to compartmentalize and restrict ourselves when we focus upon how many breaths we are given in life – opening up our horizons to a world of possibilities only when we seek moments that take our breath away.
I have been exposed to both happiness and grief recently – both the beauty of the Creator and the loss that accompanies His creation’s departure. I have seen incomparable power in the mountains, rivers and streams He created and experienced the hollow feelings that one’s unexpected death left behind. I was brought to the heights of this world when a loved one’s sickness was overcome yet brought to my knees when one far too young was taken away. As humans, we have an issue of control – wanting to control all things that touch our lives so that we can have what we want when we want it. As a point of reality, we must recognize those things we can control, those things that are out of our control, and seek the wisdom to know the difference.
I wrote a poem for a dear friend about both the hope and the futility that life provides. Several of my close friends are going through serious health conditions right now – and I recently unexpectedly lost a cousin who was close to me growing up. It is funny how reality strikes home when someone close to us – or even one our own age – passes on.
The Breath of the Night…
He came lightly upon the breath of the night… Dancing with reckless abandon across the meadows of their minds… Flying carelessly through the shadows of their souls… Seeking only to bring joy to those who would know him… Sharing himself freely with any who might care.
He came lightly upon the breath of the night… Lighting but for a moment before moving on… Touching down but long enough to hint of his presence… Leaving those who missed him searching for meaning… And those he touched during his brief stay wanting for more.
He came lightly upon the breath of the night… Blending with the quiet whispers of the ocean… Warming the cool, damp evening air… Bringing the light of day to an oppressive existence… Opening the eyes of those too blind to otherwise see.
He came lightly upon the breath of the night… Dreams of his laughter filling the now silent air with music… Thoughts of his smile making the brightest of stars seem pale… His brief reality lifting the veil from a world of sorrow… Shining brightly within a troubled night trying to hide dread within its darkness.
He came lightly upon the breath of the night… His brightness a contrast to the world’s muted shades of grey… His presence a member within the hearts of all who would have known him… Forever changing a world into which he chose to only briefly enter… Now looking down upon us cradled safely within the arms of God.
For he left as suddenly as he came… Not given the time to accomplish all he had intended… Not fulfilling the promise of his physical being… Not touching the lives that may have thrived in his presence… Leaving lightly upon the breath of the night.
Perhaps we could find purpose in each passing – find joy in each moment – rather than holding on so tightly to our losses that we are stifled and destroyed. Perhaps we should embrace the fact that we cannot control everything nor ever know the reasons that things happen. Perhaps it is better to ask the right questions – those that help us find meaning within (and because of) each moment – so that we can eventually move forward towards the hope and promise of brighter tomorrow as we, too, drift lightly upon the breath of the night.
Dave joined The Employers’ Association as Director of Research in 1989 and was appointed President in 1992. Prior to joining The Association, Dave was responsible for Union Relations, Compensation, and Safety/Environmental Compliance for a local furniture manufacturer (5 years). His previous experience includes Human Resource Management for a local automotive supplier, Technical Recruiting, and Operations Management.
Dave has developed and implemented more than 450 Compensation Administration Programs and consulted nationally in Organizational Development Family Business Issues, Succession Planning Safety / Health Compliance Concerns, Compensation Administration, Legislative Compliance, Performance Management and Governance Issues.
Dave has provided strategic direction, planning, and consistent management techniques promoting operational excellence and sustainability to Manufacturing, Service/Professional, Food Processing, Warehouse/Distribution, Family-Owned, Educational and Non-Profit businesses. Dave speaks frequently on Generational Diversity issues and is actively involved in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. Dave is a regular contributor to The Employers’ Association’s newsletter (Executive Update), publishes his own BLOG (Dave’s Deliberations) and has written for The Grand Rapids Business Journal (People Matters) and MiBiz (The Human Factor). He wrote and published a Leadership book (Pathways and Passages to Leadership) available through Amazon Books in 2016.
An active contributor to the community, Dave serves on several Boards and Committees:
Director - Herbruck Poultry Ranch & Chair of Compensation Committee
Director - Mr. E-Liquids
Director / Principal and Treasurer - Second Act Careers
Chair - West Michigan Works (Workforce Development Board) & Executive Committee
Vice-Chair - Health Net of West Michigan & Executive Committee
Chair – Cherry Health (A FQHC Program) - Finance & Executive Committees
CEO & Secretary – The Employers’ Association of Grand Rapids Board
Quality of Life and Services Review Committee - Holland Home
Director - Meadowbrooke Business Park Association
Advisory Board Member - MBPA’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in West Michigan