Indeed, the winds of change are blowing again. I was used to change. You can’t work 13 years at Progressive and not be. But in 2008 and 2009, I lot of change hit me at once.
One day in May of 2009, Progressive downsized its claims leadership group by over 200. I didn’t think anything was amiss when I saw my State Director, Regional Manager and HR Consultant in the office that morning. That was kinda naive. One of the Team Leaders walked into the conference room, had a meeting, and then left in a huff. Ok, what’ s going on here?
I was called into the conference room next…
I thank God my State Director cut to the chase and told me straight away I was still gainfully employed. When all was said and done, my job responsibilities had changed very little. I had a different title and a new reporting relationship but, other than that, it was business as usual. That new reporting relationship would grow to become something very special.
I would report to Ryan, a cradle Catholic farm boy from Northeast Kansas. Ryan was a relationship builder. He could build rapport with anyone. He’d find something to talk to you about and he genuinely wanted to hear what you had to say. He was great with customers, great with vendors, and great with his peers. Perhaps he was a bit lenient with his employees – but he was truly a saint of a man with a tremendous amount of wisdom for such a young age. He didn’t have to tell me anything – I learned just by watching how he handled situations. I’d listen to him talk on the phone and see how he led and navigated through the good and the bad.
Oooooh My Achin’ Back
A couple months after the reorganization I messed up my back. I’d been dealing with sciatica for awhile and it just kept getting worse. After a twisting exercise at the YMCA one day, I came home knowing something wasn’t right. I was a fool enough to go with my family to a wildlife park the next day. That weekend wasn’t good. It was a strain just to turn over in bed.
I worked from home starting Monday, lying on my back with my feet up on the ottoman. The doctor got me on some medicine and I felt much better by Wednesday. Displaying a complete lack of wisdom, I mowed the lawn. The next morning, I was done for. I couldn’t even have an MRI done, it hurt so bad. Eventually my pain meds were changed so I could have the MRI, leading to a diagnosis of 2 herniated disks. Thank God an epidural injection relieved most of my pain and got me back up and running within a week.
During that time, Ryan was wonderful. He offered to come mow my lawn and even had one of his friends come over and handle it for me. He checked with me regularly to make sure I was ok and continually volunteered to help with anything I needed.
Ryan showed me what selfless service was about. I think sometimes it’s easy to look at people who serve others as weak. The devil would certainly like us to think that. Ryan showed me the strength in serving others. He came from a community of farmers who thought nothing of helping each other in times of trouble. He grew up in a church that truly was a community. He was simply living the life he had learned to live, regardless of his surroundings. How could a man possibly be stronger?
99 Problems and a Parish is One
As July began, the dust settled and I was back at work. The “problems” of life had been set aside while I healed but they were still there. The first one we tackled was our choice of parish. Church of the Magdalen felt like a big box of people all coming and going their separate ways. We wanted more from our parish.
The Holy Spirit brought Jennifer a memory of the church our parish worked with to provide Parents’ Morning Out. Church of the Resurrection was a wonderful little church in Northeast Wichita with great architecture, a top-ranked school, and the perfect size at just 600 families. After a couple masses there, we knew we’d found the right place for our family to worship.
There’s more to come…
Back to the previous chapter…
Onto the next…