5 Years Ago Today
The day prior I heard that three of my closest colleagues had lost their jobs. My heart ached for these friends as we’d shared many memorable experiences together. In some cases, they were staff members of mine and I had absolutely no idea of the decision to let them go. As I walked the plant, there were many who approached me and asked “why”? To which, I had to respond that I didn’t know.
In the morning, I was at the plant interacting with the team as I normally would; however, there just seemed to be something off with the events of the prior day. I was asked if I was planning to return to our headquarters that day for a meeting to which I responded that I had decided it wasn’t necessary for me to be. A little time later, I was told that I needed to be at that meeting and must return to our headquarters. It was at that point, I knew. Today, would be the day they also let me go. As I returned to my office, I called Lisa along the way telling her it seemed inevitable. Once I arrived, I packed my desk in preparation for them to come and ask me to join them. You see, I knew the routine, as I had been a part of it many times before. Today, was the day!
While the details of my severance are confidential and I really have no ill will, I would share that as they were rolling out the details and apologetic, I had a smile on my face and a joy that surpasses understanding. As I entered the cab, I asked the cab driver, “how’s your day” to which he responded, “I guess it’s going better than yours” to which I responded, “you never know, this could be the best day of the rest of my life.”
We had a wonderful cab ride home and as he arrived at the house, he exited the cab and we walked to the pond in my backyard continuing to carry on a conversation about fishing. As he got in the cab to leave, he said, “You’re going to be OK. I am a counselor and meet with folks on a regular basis. A huge part of how you will do is how you react to your circumstances and you have the right attitude.”
As I walked into the house, I saw Lisa and screamed at the top of my lungs, “I’m free!” and that is truly how we felt. You see, from 2005 to 2008, I was on the road more than I was home. I won’t get into all the details, however, let’s just say it was wearing on me and my family. While there was definitely some uncertainty, we felt truly blessed to have the opportunity for a new beginning.
In the days to follow, I had a 40 day journey which was an experience that likely changed my life and will never be forgotten. As I dug into scripture and truly focused on what He would have for me, I recommitted to my priorities in life. While I would have told you God and family were priorities, my actions didn’t align with this. Additionally, while I was a big team and employee involvement type leader, I really wasn’t focussed on serving others. So, where I would head needed to be in alignment with God, family, and serving others.
Since that day five years ago, the stories are abundant. Many have been captured in this blog to share and encourage. While I would love to tell you, we have it all figured out and we’re living a mountain top experience, the truth of the matter is we’re still in the “valley of humiliation”. You see, over 40 years, I had been allowed to build up a tremendous amount of pride. God has used this past five years to slowly strip away this pride. He’s also used it to show me and restore my sense of joy in serving Him and others in His Kingdom. While there have been times of what seems like extreme suffering, we wouldn’t trade them for a life like we had.
Sitting around the table at Truth@Work, I get the opportunity to take part in many discussions around whether or not to let an employee go. Christian leaders really struggle at times about whether or not to allow someone to move on and how best to do so. One of the things I remind our groups often is that “sometimes we need to get out of Gods way. He has a work to do in that individual and we’re standing in the way of it being accomplished.” I am a firsthand example of this and know many stories of this to be the case.
Today, we’re still in a period of discernment. What we’ve heard is that “this man’s being called into ministry and it’s to use his business experience in the church.” Maybe we’re fulfilling this calling already in some aspect, however, we know God has a vision far beyond which we patiently await.
In closing, if this blog should happen to make it into the hands of those who made a decision about my personal situation, I don’t know that I’ve ever had the opportunity to say “thank you”! Yes, “thank you” for allowing me the opportunity to move on as I couldn’t make the decision on my own.
Chris , you are such an amazing example of what it means to walk in Christ. You have been so faithful in your walk and it has been such and honor to call you my brother. You are such a leader to me and so many around you. Thank you for helping me grow with you. Side by side!! Brother and sister…. God has truly Blessed us all around you!!!!
I remember it well Chris. I was almost to the Blytheville plant when I got the call to be in Kingsbury the next morning. I knew what it was as soon as I got the call. Drove back went in early, cleaned out my desk and was ready to go when they paged me. I was lucky as I had planned to retire soon anyway so the severance package carried me almost there. Saw a lot of very good people get ushered out the door before me so nothing surprised me and I was always ready for it to happen any time.
Remember our call as well. You may have told me, however, didn’t remember that you were almost at Blytheville! Thanks for all you contibuted along the way!
Inspiring Blog Chris! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Shelly! It’s always nice to hear we’re making a difference. God bless!