When you live long enough, you are bound to experience many things that add to your life story. Today, half of a loving couple who played an intricate part in my story, passed away. I have had a few people who have had tremendous influence in my life, and this man was one of them. He was my boss, along with his wife, for about nine years and it was the best time of my life in terms of getting to do what I loved best; helping others to live their dream and be successful in their pursuit of the dream.
The thing is, they became so much more than bosses to me. I loved helping them look good. They worked very hard to help hundreds of others become successful and would do whatever possible to make that happen. I in turn, did whatever I could to help them all to meet their goals. I had the dream of teaching classes on business, time management, how to make an interesting demonstration, teach them how to work in cooperation with others, and helping them grow as individuals. I watched our success be my bosses success. It was a such a great time.
The other side of it is, they are like family to me. In many ways…I felt I was. I spent many days sharing lunch with them, and brainstorming how we could be more effective in helping the sales team meet their goals. God spoke to me early on in my employment with them, that I was to leave encouraging notes for them on their desks. Be their armor bearers. When they encouraged others all the time as they did, sometimes someone needs to encourage them. That is what God asked me to do. So I did. My boss went out of his way to help me in different times of crisis in my life, and I will never forget that kindness. He had a hard time when I would try to thank him then, and even in the years to come, but I wanted him to know how much it meant to me. I would also pick up some sugar-free black licorice candy for him sometimes too because he loved it. Yep. Good times.
Thanks to him being so innovative, our sales force was #1 and others looked to us for our leadership in that industry at that time. Fun place to associate with. I learned a lot about business, life, and financial freedom through my time there too. I received a great foundation for life. He was always willing to bring in great speakers that would lead, encourage and teach us in ways that would improve our business if we desired to follow the training. He was also the one who, after a brainstorm lunch one day, tossed the keys to their Lincoln Continental to me to drive back to work because they were running errands with the other car. I was so nervous driving it back to work that I ended up tripping in the parking lot and skinned my knee. But I made it safely back to work and did classes that afternoon in spite of a torn up knee. The car? What a drive that was! Like riding on air!
He had an answer for everything, and it was usually positive in nature. He was direct as a leader, and you could listen and make something better, or you could choose not to. As he always said, “The choice is yours. It’s up to you!” I don’t want to imply he was this perfectly calm individual all the time. Because there were many times a manager would have to bring up a point for him to consider because he hadn’t thought about it in that way. Or he said something in a way that might be just a little TOO direct, and his sweet wife would have to call his name and graciously correct his manner. She was so good at that, and he would take it from her as a sign to back up a bit. Yes we are all only human.
So when life took a hard turn several years after their retirement, and he had many things he loved to do that he had to give up. He handled that with his usual attitude. Take it head on and make the best of a negative situation. It’s all in how you look at it right? I would visit them when ever I could get into town, and we would have some lively conversations. Still…always direct. You never had to wonder what he was thinking about anything. Brilliant mind too. Always enjoyed that. He was also a great photographer. His BBQ salmon was to die for!!
If you are fortunate enough to have this kind of person in your life, let them know of their influence on you. Nothing can bless them more than knowing what they have done has been a blessing in your life. Don’t wait. His wife is one amazing lady and I treasure our friendship more than anything. We often had many miles between us, and yet we managed to stay in touch. Love that about good friends.
So today as I read the news of his passing, the tears flowed for all the above. And…for my very good friend who now must live on without her husband by her side. I knew it was coming, since my last visit made that clear, but we are never ready really. Life is hard and God tells us we will all have trouble in this life. But we can’t keep them here when their quality of life makes it so difficult. Then, even though it seems trite, we need to remember that they are now whole and not suffering in this life any longer. However, that is always harder than we think it will be. That is why I think God gives us memories. I believe, that He gives us the memories so that in hard times, we can be comforted by them. When we are sad, let it out, when we need to cry, cry. When we are angry, let that out too. It helps us heal. When a memory gives us joy, let the joy heal us as well.
So, to a great boss… a little like a second dad… and one true friend… thank you for everything you deposited into my life. I know you are breathing fresh air in heaven and celebrating with a brand new body.
I will never forget all those “little” things you did that were “BIG” for me.
Love you J.
Until we meet again…