Arriving at work one morning, I was surprised to see my boss (the Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company). As I passed his office on the way to my own he called me into his office and told me to close the door. Red flags were now flying high; this was definitely out of character for him and for our working relationship. Sitting in the chair in front of his desk and putting my briefcase down, I said “ I’m in trouble . . . We’re in trouble . . . “ at which point he completed my implied question saying “We are all in trouble, the Chairman of the Board (majority stockholder) sold the company last night.”
As the implications of his statement sank in, I realized that I was out of a job, as were the rest of the corporate office. My response? I started laughing. There was nothing else I could do. My car had been totaled a few months ago, my parents were assigned out of the country, I had virtually no savings, and my sister was still recovering from her own crises. In other words, the last leg holding up my life had just collapsed and I had no safety net. At this point, I had a choice. I could not chose what was going to happen. I could choose how I was going to respond, and I chose to laugh.
My boss, with surprise on his face and concern in his voice, thinking I did not understand, explained the realities to me. Out of my mouth came a statement that would carry me through many challenges in my life. “Larry,” I said, “when things happen we can either laugh or cry, and I choose to laugh.” He let me leave and go to continue my job, later bringing me lists of the divestiture schedules we needed to create. We also had a couple of acquisitions slated to close within a couple of weeks. Needless to say, our office became a whirlwind of work, stress, and chaos as we each struggled to keep up and adjust.
A few days later, Larry walked into my office and stated “You are right, and we are going to laugh our way through this.” From that point on, whenever things appeared impossible or ridiculous, instead of stressing, we laughed. Most of the rest of the people in the office were worried about our grasp on reality, but our laughter at the inane situations we found ourselves in helped us to cope, remaining focused as we completed all of the required tasks. I sometimes wish I had video of the two of us crawling on the floor of the Boardroom in our suits laughing as we verified the completeness of all of the piles of divestiture schedules lined along the walls.
It was, while my life was floating in chaos, one of the best periods of my life. Without understanding it at the time, it was probably my first experience floating on the wings of God. Maybe one day I will master being able to always rest on His wings, allowing Him to direct me wherever He desires, while I simply enjoy the vistas and the ride in complete and utter trust for His love and care for me, one of His dearly beloved children.