The email was short, direct, and unambiguous. “We need to talk.”
My mind immediately raced into negative overdrive. What had gone wrong? Was he going to deliver a message that said our conversation was over? Had I pushed the envelope too hard?
Even as I struggled to put any content into my imaginary stories, I could not shake the idea that our conversation was going to be painful. The anticipation was more intense than usual because I have a lot of respect for this individual. He has earned my trust. He is a consummate professional. He is also a team player. It is hard to imagine anyone not wanting to work with him.
As we found time to have a coffee, I caught myself remembering stories of the past. In each I could see him in action. His quiet demeanor is anchored with experienced expertise. He is good as what he does. He loves what he does. Others love working with him. He models the life of an individual that has heard and headed the warning given centuries ago; “If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13.2)
The morning was rushed, leaving little time to think and anticipate. As we sat down a wave of imaginary fear washed over me. The reality of the conversation was as far from my imagination as it could be. His questions about my meetings to date and what next steps were in place destroyed my imaginary stories. He wanted to know the stories. He cared about me as an individual. He wanted the process to work in a way that brought success to everyone involved.
With each exchange, my energy level rose. The conversation was about more than either of us. I could feel hope’s presence. The door was open to sharing new ideas. As we talked, our eyes lit up. We knew we had possibilities in hand.