‘the allstate story’

This afternoon I was saying goodbye, again, to some of the ladies at work and started to go into what I’d be doing, where, why hows etc etc and that of course led to some of the God stories from Nica, my Allstate history in general and how thats a God story in and of itself, seeing the Allstate logo in Nica at just the right time etc. etc.   This is probably overkill, but since my friend wanted to hear my towel story and I didn’t have time to share it, I wrote it all out while the 7 year old I watch daily was trying to figure out that magic pen game- the one where you draw the squares and hinges and get that little ball to roll into the flag- touchscreen monitor too- high tech golf for geeks.  I love it.  Now, since this is all written out and sent, all 1800 words of it, I figured there might be someone out there that doesn’t mind ebooks and might find this encouraging.  Please disregard the irreverent use of the vernacular and refrain from lamenting the drastic decline in use of proper punctuation and syntax as commonly demonstrated in today’s youth.

 

—–Original Message—–
From: ——————————-
To: vklong <vklong@aol.com>
Sent: Wed, May 18, 2011 3:04 pm
Subject: Allstate

Please tell me the Allstate story.  Have a good time an be careful, I will be thinking of you while you are away.

[my response:]

Absolutely- so like I started, I had to ‘preach’ one night in a little but packed one room building with a bit of a courtyard out back.  I get picked up at my friend’s house “home”, where I had gone back with no clue what I was gonna talk about and then saw on the wall my perfect 3 pt outline in a poster on the wall “Si Buscas Al Senor” – If you seek the Lord – in 1, 2 and 3 sea como sea Dios esta contigo en todas partes- be what it be Gods with ya wherever.  So I have my message, I’m pumped, its only like 6pm but its pitch black and I’m picked up by a good friend of mine and taken to this little church on the outskirts of Granada and of course everyone wants to hug the gringa, its cool.

There are quite a few similarities to what you’d see here- they had their boombox, loud, singing in the beginning, pretty typical.  After a point, I make the mistake of looking at my phone to check the time and then start to get preoccupied about having to wake up my hosts and being out too late and from that point on I’m out of it.  I’ve got my message, wrap it up let me talk lets go.

They start jumping.
and screaming.  They’ve just started.  Slight headache, quite antsy. I’m done for the night.

I was standing in the front row, of course, but next to the wall, and right next to a curtain leading back into the back.  “Go”.  So I get my internal but definitely from God permission to just step out, knowing that I would be more distracting if I stayed than if I left, and knowing how I get without some alone time.  I reassured the pastors wife that I was good, just praying, no not sick, its fine, gracias, and then just stood back there, glanced around at the old beat up couch and the sink aka slab of concrete and the trees and the aluminum roofing and just sighed.  What am I doing here.  I have no right to stand up in front, no better, a little paler, but I don’t even speak the language, why me sort of thing.

God humors me for a few minutes, lets me vent, almost start crying, but red eyes would not reassure the pastors wife that all was well so right before that happened, I was told to turn around and ‘go over there’.  Um…?  ok.  I walk farther from the exit, still able to hear the really loud music although it is a bit stifled and then I see an opening in the aluminum roof.  Not a hole, but basically the overhang of the roof I was under ended before reaching the wall of the courtyard.  Orion is full fledged front and center in the gap.  Thank you God.

Orion’s been a constant over the years- the first and usually only one I can pick out.  There was one night in MX where I was up in the middle of the night and God promised me something big worth being up for and I wasn’t buying it.  Not a star in the sky, I’m annoyed, call Him a liar and then turn the corner to use the restroom – boom.  There she is.  Front and center and with just the basics.  123. (the belt)- Basically big “Who says I can’t line up everything.  EVERYTHING.  Millions of LIGHTyears away from you, from each other, in different planes, and yet to you its clear.  123, point point; point point.  (the ‘arms’). It’s stood out to me when the entire sky is full with stars we just can’t see here.  Big front and center and saying “I’m bigger than you are and that’s a good thing”.

Ok cool.  Thank you.  I’m sorry, thank you.  I lower my eyes and big, front and center is a huge beach towel with the Allstate logo.  This is no rag.  The good hands logo front and center like 3 feet in front of me.  “Who says I can’t line up everything?”  No- I didn’t cry but man o man.

This stuff isn’t coincidence- that the only person in that building, city, probably country/ area of the world who could get any significance whatsoever out of a towel drying, at night, in the middle of… I don’t think we were far, but I wouldn’t have wanted to try to get myself home alone… is led outside to see something so personal.

I told you that this company means a lot to me and yeah, a lot of its b/c its the only job I’ve ever known, but its also b/c, right out of high school, no experience, ridiculously discouraged over the lack of – – – oooooh.  Hope?  I had been an honors student, taking the AP classes, competing with a pretty talented class and feeling as if I fell short but still in the top 20 out of close to 500.  I had had my heart set since Sept. on Cedarville, down in the cornfields near Cincinnati and it just wasn’t happening.  The stuck up AP nerds I hung out with, at least at the joke of a honors tutoring table in the library, had said some pretty mean things about state schools and especially community colleges but thats where I was starting to resign myself too- good ‘ole tri-c.  whoopdeedo.

and yet a week after graduation (first wk of June), with no hope of a real job, real school and really bored since I hadn’t had classes since late May, I finally give in to Dad’s hints to try that temp agency on Darrow “You know I was a Kelly girl back in the day.”  I got nothing, they wouldn’t want me but whatever.  Ok.

Mom and I go in, fill out a few papers and get an appt for 2 days later where I leave having filled out a lot of papers and signed that I’d be at 75 Executive Pkway 10 am sharp two weeks from Monday.

hired in two months later (two days before the announcement of the closing), left at the perfect timing with a retention bonus- they paid me to keep my job and then made it so that I didn’t have to quit how cool is that.  Finished my last semester at Tri-C, now having earned caps and respect b/c of their phenomenal art program, which I was now really able to partake in b/c I didn’t have to run to work right after.

you know the rest- prob most of this too, but really.  This call center job was given to the quiet one and then when she got really good at it it was taken away so that she knew that she could, but wasn’t dependent on the stats and making sure everyone knew that she could.  I’m glad I didn’t print out the proof b/c honestly, especially as moral was getting pretty low, I was regularly at 130, 140% efficiency, who knows in terms of productivity, but the numbers were up there.

then I cancelled my interview for ASIC when I realized I’d be leaving in a few months and that it wouldn’t be right for me.  It just felt like I needed to let it go- give up the stats and the pto and the nice raise that would have still come my way in march and move on.  In my ‘sermon’, I mentioned how Allstate was the place that I left in order to go there and then when I came back it was given back- in a different form, but again just what I needed.

I no longer needed the encouragement and the push to talk to people- I needed the encouragement and push and time to really talk to God and to work on being teachable.  Oh man o man.  Thats been a biggie.  Messing up on the easy stuff.  Letting myself be forgiven for making life miserable for quite a few people and not quitting to make it better for everyone else- to get out of the way and back into a corner like I’m accustomed to doing.  Trust me I considered it.

//

[page break/ coming back a few hours later: I reread this, all while battling the temptation to edit and mess with and correct the punctuation and refine the grammar.  I’m tempted to cut half out but can’t.  ‘the Allstate story’ is more than the few seconds leading up to seeing something with an Allstate logo in an unlikely location.  The ‘Allstate story’ includes the next day, wearing a company t-shirt saying that one can’t start a new chapter without finishing the old and how that, especially combined with this story, greatly encouraged my best friend down there.  It includes the blessing of being a temp- how last time they practically begged us to hire in but this time its not even an option, or temptation.  The simplicity and versatility of my particular job means that almost anybody can step in and even though I’ve often wanted to learn something new and wondered why it hasn’t worked out that way, the fact that I am more or less easy to replace is a really good thing right now, whereas the next two hired after me received more specialized assignments that would have made the coming and going difficult to impossible.  Even the schedules have been ideal.  All things.  Rom8.28.  This verse is over quoted and widely used out of context, but I’ve seen it played out too many times to not believe it and in short, for me, that is my ‘Allstate story’.  All things working together quite nicely so that conversations like this might come up and so that God gets the credit.

I’ve told this story quite a few times, but this is the first time I actually bothered to write it all out so I’m just going to copy and paste all of this onto the blog just to make it available to other people too (vklong.wordpress.com), just in case they’re not too overwhelmed by my book like letter writing tendencies, but there ya go.  You are welcome to share, forward if anyone asks and doesn’t wanna stare over your shoulder for an hour and a half.  I’ve shared journals in the past with curious souls so although you are by no means required to have even read all of this never mind an extra volume or two (or 8,9…)  those are open to you as well.

So have an awesome day, thank you for asking and for humoring my response and I’ll shall see ya in a week or so!

Love ya 🙂
~Val

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