“Say it ain’t so, Joe” is a well-known saying from a young boy to Shoeless Joe Jackson walking out of court after admitting to have thrown the World Series. My Joe story is different, and I am glad for it!
I was pleasantly surprised today to get a call from a former student named Joe, who graduated a few years ago. He had been a wonderful student employee, fun to be around, and always willing to serve others.
My greatest connection to Joe came during a difficult time in my own life. Jen’s father had suddenly passed away. We needed someone to watch our house on short notice and take care of our two labs Woody and Lucy during the week it would take to travel to northeast Ohio and mourn. Joe was so gracious in answering my call for help and did a wonderful job while we were gone. His willingness to assist in a great time of need is something that I can never repay.
As the academic year drew to a close, I was able to provide references for Joe to prospective employers. He eventually got a job and I knew he had a bright future. As so often happens, we had some contact, but didn’t much from each other for long periods of time.
Joe’s voice mail this morning indicated that he was looking for new employment opportunities, and he wanted to check if it was okay to still use me as a reference. I called him intending to tell him that was fine. Come to think of it, I don’t think we ever spoke about this in the next hour and a half.
Our conversation was a collage of challenges, states of mind, our successes, and our efforts to find peace. Joe shared that he was reaching for a dream to become a professional golfer. He is working with a transformational golf coach who is teaching more than how to swing a club. As Joe was making analogies between golf and life, I kept thinking that he needs to write this material down, write a book, and developing a speaking platform. Joe has such clarity in his thinking and purpose in his life that he is developing a message that needs to be shared with others. His message of dealing with adversity and growing into the person that he is today will resonate with others.
As we shared our stories, we inspired each other to keep pursuing our hopes and dreams. We have pledged to talk once/week in the early morning and keep each other moving forward.
I have a feeling this phone conversation was a game-changer. Most importantly, renewing and strengthening our connection will help us serve each other and others.
I would love to hear reader stories about renewed connections and relationships. Let’s inspire each other!