Wednesday, 27 April 2011

So Thankful... Part II

In the year 2000, my lifelong dream of playing in the NHL blew up and I did not turn pro.  I was decimated.  I did not struggle with my there was none to struggle with.  I knew nothing of myself.  I felt my 'purpose' was gone.  I felt alone and like a complete failure.  I remember crying for days on end; knowing the 1 thing I was groomed to do turned into nothing.

I got a Job at Wellington Construction working as a general laborer.  My dear friend Bert Stevens hired me.  The amount of humility required to step into the construction field when I felt I was destined for pro was overwhelming.  Each day working there reminded me I blew what I was purposed to do. Adding to this devastation was attending a church that told me "God has good purposes for you".   I wrongly interpreted and consequently lived out that I was colossal failure... after all, I blew my purpose so now I must be displeasing God.

Being fit, smart and perceived by others as someone who is going to “accomplish something” put a lot of pressure on me and further highlighted the 'gap' between what I thought I was to accomplish and what I was doing.

I could well imagine my family could see how upset I was and one evening my dad shared something with me that quite possibly could remain the most powerful word ever spoken and I am honored to share it with you.  He said, "Ryan you were robbed (from your hockey dream).  Robbed blind and it was a gross injustice that you are not where you should be.  I am horrified inside as a father that this was allowed to happen to you and I wish in all the world you could have been recognized for what was so painfully obvious." By then I was sobbing for he knew my pain.  But then he continued "Ryan, but let me tell you something else…the newborn who was born healthy with no defects, and due to hospital error, is now mentally and physically handicapped: that is an injustice Ryan…that is wrong and that pains me and hurts me to the core to see that injustice against this poor boy.  And Ryan, I share your deep pain and weep with you at the injustice against you,  I am hurt at your destroyed dream. However Ryan, you need to know that you still have a brain to think.  You still have hands to worship God with.  You still have a body that does exactly what you want it to do.  That boy has a damaged brain and body."

At the time, I felt loved that my father cares for my dreams destroyed, yet at the same time taught me to realize that others too have deep injustices.  Dad did not alleviate my pain or elevate the other boy's. He simply showed compassion to both.

In 2001 Brad, Dad and I started a company B&R Custom Machining (now entering our 11th year).  During these years I continued to struggle with identity.

In about 2006 I was corresponding with my pastor and he made a little one-liner comment to me that played a powerful role in my development. He wrote: NHL:  New Hope Lives.  This was an opposite contrast to my personal theology at the time.  I felt, "due to no NHL, all hope has died."  Fascinating!  My source of being helpless (no NHL) was the acronym Pastor used to speak hope into me.  Each day I would either dream or think of my past with hockey: it was like an inner prison.  There would be so many trigger points that tied back to my past.

Shortly after my Pastor’s words, I decided I want to establish our company values for B&R Custom.  I had absolutely no idea what the purpose of profit was.  Was it to line my pockets? Shareholder profits? Serve employees? Reinvest for new equipment?  Advance suppliers?  What is the purpose of profit? 

I remember it was a Saturday and I was pacing our shop floor and I said, "God, I am not leaving here until you tell me what the purpose of profit is."  I was incredibly frustrated with my despair and lack of purpose.  I was “the boss” and the owner of a company, yet internally did not know what the purpose of profit was.  So I paced and paced asking God at least 1000 times.  As clear as a bell, I recall God saying to me, "Ryan it has to be accessible to everyone who touches your company".  I blurted out, "Perfect God… good start… so, what's the 'it'? What has to be perfectly accessible? What?"  For another 3 hours I paced the floor asking "what is the purpose of profit?  I know whatever it is will be accessible to everyone who touches the company."  Then suddenly, in a still moment of silence I heard from God ever so softly, "Ryan, you choose."  A world of emotions immediately rose up inside as I declared from my inner most being, "the purpose of profit is to establish justice and the justice is the offering of a remedy". 

I felt honored, respected and valued.  I felt prized and sought after.  I later realized how my father’s and pastor’s short, but powerful words of life set the stage for something so magnificent: out of the disaster of my hockey.  Somehow, redemption was in the works.  The very foundation that I had built in my first 6 years, and the 4 years since were focused entirely on 'establishing the basics of success' so that others who touch the company have access to remedies: justice.  Justice is a big word often thrown out there, yet what justice has looked like for us is too much for this blog, but suffice it to say, it encompasses learning and recognizing the order to how business ought to be run.  The value of a strong foundation.  Learning how to make a profit while valuing customers, shareholders and employees.  This has been an incredible 10 year journey that has taught me so much, and opened the door for so much more I am able to learn.

I am overjoyed to report that New Hope does indeed Live.  My hope was found first in a God who loves me and did not give up on me. Through this, I can find hope in my father, who's passionate love for me was clearly expressed at my most vulnerable moment.  My hope was found in men like Bert Stevens and Jamie Kubassek who sought me out in the halls at church and asked me how I was doing, taking an interest in my world.  My hope has been stirred by Earl Pitts who has seen potential and possibility in me. Where for years he observed I saw none in myself. When I was a mouthy rebellious 15 year old boy he began investing in me and loving on me. My hope is in my wife who smiles when I come home and says, "I am glad you are here". 

New Hope does indeed Live.  And this hope has recently helped me to realize that my prize was not and is not in playing in the NHL… but in my 2 darling precious girls.  I stand proud that I am able to model these shared principles to them.  Others loving me is the reason I have lasted 10 years as the front man of B&R: plain and simple.

Sadie is incredible. I love her so much.

Alexis means the world to me.

I have hope that B&R will continue to invest in people, increasing their skills.  I want employees to increase their wage and profit from their contributions within our firm: let's invest in excellence and results together.  I remain honored that something so horrible that caused so much regret and dejection could be used as a opportunity for me to participate in something quite the opposite: serving others and partnering with people to offer remedies to real problems. Establishing justice.

This is why I believe in the free market. It gives the freedom to look reality square in the face, and along with other people: truly come out on top.  A free market often acts like a mirror that reflects your projection back on you.  Surrounding ourselves with loved ones is the way we should be picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and getting back in the game.

We are looking at a real possibility of a socialist government (NDP) partnering with the Liberals.  I encourage you today to live out the lifestyle of a small 'c' conservative.
The free market was very harsh to me. Rejection was almost my middle name.  I felt defeated and dejected oh so many times. Hopeless and worthless.  Yet, it is not for the NDP to manufacture fairness by programs and laws.  It is not their job to 'right this wrong'.  For by giving place to socialist principles we lose the opportunity to truly see ourselves as we are and make the required changes for our benefit and advancement. {This principle is not also used to dam the helpless…clearly any sensible Canadian wants to uphold the helpless}  Socialism does not give open place for justice or compassion.

In my opinion Mr. Layton, manufacturing fairness with laws and programs is a form of bondage. It gives a 'quick fix' to a real problem.  Friends, I encourage you to rise up in good judgment and realize the power behind words of life. See the value of looking at somebody square in the eyes and telling them they are worth it and you are here to help.  Friends, as I write to you today, those were indeed powerful agents of hope restored in my world.  I know from employee testimony, words of life were powerful agents in them. Advancing them through problems being solved.  Words of life are powerful agents in approaching customers with conviction that indeed you care about their situation and will work hard to make things right.

Do not be fooled by Mr. Layton’s charm and 'message of fairness'.  I want the same 'end' as he does….Canadians being valued.  What I shared with you today hopefully explains how we can operate within a free market and come out on top.  If you are in a state of hopelessness, I encourage you today: find just one person who loves you and receive words of life from them.  If you are hope filled, find a person who may be struggling with something and speak life into their situation.  We have power with our 'vote' but also with our lifestyle of compassion.

1 comment:

  1. crazy accurate testimony...i remember it...well put Ryan! I am encouraged by your freedom!


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