I remember back about 27 years ago, when this young couple was expecting their third child. They were excited because they already had a boy and a girl and this was going to be the tie-breaker. They weren’t going to be able to have any more children after this because going through the pregnancies was very hard on the woman and was taking a toll on her health. They were almost six months into the pregnancy and everything was moving along just fine. They were excited, people were excited for them, and they were filled with anticipation on the arrival of this new addition to their family.
The woman, along with her husband, had gone in for a routine sonogram to see how everything was progressing. The procedure went smoothly. They had done this before and it was always exciting to hear the heartbeat and realize that a new creation was growing inside and how wonderful this all was. The rest of the day went like any other day. The husband went off to work and she went back home to be with the other two kids. That night they received a phone call from the hospital, “Would the two of you mind coming by the hospital tomorrow to review the results of the sonogram?” Not a problem, they were new to the area and to this hospital; this must just be the hospital’s particular protocol.
When the two of them arrived at the hospital and walked directly into the room that they were instructed to go to, life stopped for a moment. When they entered the room they were greeted by no fewer than eight different people. There were medical doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and hospital administrators. All there just to discuss the sonogram! The wife broke down immediately. The husband continued to stand behind one of those walls that he had put up long ago. He was going to be the brave one, the strong one, the nothing-can-hurt-me one.
The people who were there tried to explain to this couple what was going on. The sonogram had revealed that the little boy she was carrying inside of her was anencephalic. Anencephaly is the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp that occurs during embryonic development. There are only about 1000 of these types of cases per year, and theirs was one of them. The people in the room explained that if the pregnancy went the full nine months, the baby would not survive more than a couple of hours after birth. There was also a risk to the woman if she carried the child another three months.
They recommended that labor be induced as soon as possible, and to terminate the pregnancy. For a young couple this was a lot to take in. For a young couple trying to do life on their own with not a lot of history of emotional support, this was overwhelming. They did what the experts recommended and immediately checked into the hospital. The next morning, the procedure was started, and within an hour a little boy came forth. The nurse wrapped him up just like they would any other newborn and handed him to the father.
The problem with putting walls up all of your life is that walls do have a tendency to come crashing down from time to time. This was one of those times. As I held my son in my arms and looked at his beautiful face, I had no more walls at that moment to hide behind. I couldn't pretend to be strong for my wife or for me. I was broken and I was vulnerable. I was, at that very instant, what I was supposed to be: a real person. At this point in our marriage this was the most emotional I had ever been and the closest that I had ever felt to my wife, Janet. It was almost surreal that this was all happening to us and happening so fast.
Title: 10 Bits of Wisdom from the Shoe Shine Guy
Author: John Early
Genre: Spiritual / Inspirational
John Early worked in the corporate world for over 25 years. From the outside looking in, it seemed as though he had it all: the beautiful family, the magnificent home, the nice cars and great vacations, the fabulous income with the big 401k. He had what most would consider the American Dream. This was John’s idea of a dream, and this dream was all about him. Then suddenly, in an instant, like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, John had an encounter with God that transformed his life forever. John takes the reader through that transformation and the total impact it had on not only his life, but on the lives of those around him, especially those closest to him-his wife and children. He lays out the 10 key bits of wisdom that were instrumental in reconciling and rebuilding those broken relationships. His road on this journey is paved with: Knowing your purpose, Character, Attitude, Goals, Teamwork and Trust, Respect, Courage, Regrets, Reconciliation, and Grace. This book shows all of us, no matter our circumstances or how dark our days may seem, that God is brighter still. Let God start to transform your life.
John moved to Houston, Texas in 1980 at the age of 21. He worked in sales for a manufacturers rep firm selling oil equipment. Sales territory was most of South Texas, driving 4000-5000 miles per month. John had the opportunity to call on customers that were located in remote areas of South Texas as well as the corporate offices of some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world located Houston, Texas.
In 1986 he moved back to Michigan and went to work as a mortgage consultant for a small mortgage company, Tranex Financial and worked there for 13 years. Starting out as a mortgage consultant he moved into training then became an officer of the company and eventually bought the firm. In 1998, he merged Tranex into the Hantz Financial Group.
He worked with Hantz Financial as a Vice President and financial consultant until December of 2010 focusing on marketing and client relationships. His team assisted high net worth clients with their tax planning, estate planning, investment strategies and business owner concerns. Providing advice to clients who needed sophisticated financial planning. While at Hantz Financial the company grew from 100 employees to over 500 and John was able to help build one of the largest practices within the firm.
In April of 2011 he created The Shoe Shine Guys. A mobile shoe shine service that started with an idea, one truck and a handful of clients. He now has three vehicles, a full service cobbler store and hundreds of clients. His company continues to add new clients every month and receive calls at least once a quarter about expanding to other parts of the country.
John attended Saginaw Valley State University. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Janet, for more than 32 years and they have two grown children, a son in law, and a grandson.
A sports enthusiast, John was an avid handball player for over 20 years (new titanium knee and work have sidelined him for a while) and was the Canadian national doubles champion in 1999.