I believe the Blessed Mother wants me to hit my fireball tomorrow -- and that she has something afoot to pull this off!
Seriously, it seems a little crazy that I think I'm going to hit Fireball given that I've got to sell about a dozen policies tomorrow to make that work -- and so far I've never sold a dozen policies in one week, let alone in one day.
But I believe the Blessed Mother is the Mediatrix of all Grace and that she intends to work this out for me somehow.
Why do I think this?
I'm not just a crazy Catholic woman. There have been a number of signs this week to lead me to keep having faith. There have been an uncanny number of signs -- NO sales. None. Zip. Notta! Zilch. You get the picture.
Tuesday after sitting for hours at an enrollment and not getting the opportunity to talk to one person (the owner,who said I was not allowed to speak to any employees while they were on the clock, not even for five minutes, led me through a labyrinth of hallways and doors into a dirty lunchroom where not a single employee came during his or her break). I felt discouraged. The business owner had seemed cooperative when I asked to come into the store. I had spent a lot of time preparing for the enrollment.
Discouraged at the outcome of that endeavor, I called the mother of a friend of mine who is studying to be a priest and I asked her if she would mind praying for me. She invited me to her house. I told her my troubles. She took my hand and prayed for me. When she was finished praying she told me she had a vision while she was praying for me. In that vision, she said, she saw the Blessed Mother handing me a rose. I told her that was interesting because the day before, Monday, I had learned that if I hit my fireball this week, I will receive a bunch of roses from Aflac. She said that was interesting, and maybe that was why she saw the Blessed Mother hand me just one rose but then in the background she saw more roses, a bunch of roses. She said maybe that had to do with the fireball.
Today I was scheduled to return to the enrollment location that had been so unsuccessful on Tuesday. This time I took our district sales coordinator with me. She is an excellent saleswoman and we both expected she could have an effect on the business owner, get his cooperation. It just didn't happen. He wasn't cooperative. So three more hours in the week were wasted -- and the time I spent preparing for today's enrollment, too.
My district sales coordinator suggested I go talk to this guy who owns a furniture business. He had seemed interested in three of our policies but had wanted to talk it over with his wife. I went to see him as she suggested. He said his wife said not at this time. He said that's a good thing because she says no when she means no, so this means that she will do it at some time, just now.
About this time I noticed a Catholic calendar hanging behind the furniture salesman's head. I decided to tell him about the roses and the fact that I need to hit fireball. I told him that I understand if he is not ready to do business at this time, but can he suggest anybody else? I asked him if he would just consider whether he has a friend who might have a business with ten or fifteen people, someone to whom he could refer me some business. He didn't know of anybody with that many employees off the top of his head but he did give me the names of some of the owners of neighboring small businesses.
I went into a garage of some sort next to talk to the guy who runs it. I told him the furniture salesman had referred me and that I really need to sell about a dozen policies before 4 p.m. tomorrow. He said he really wasn't in the market but he appreciated my situation and he invited me to write down my name so he could refer me to people if he thinks of anyone. As I was writing down my name I saw a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My friend who is becoming a priest studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. I have a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus next to my bed. It is an old-fashioned depiction of Jesus that I love. My mother had it. My grandmothers have it. It's very old-school Catholic.
I said to the garage owner. "I see you have the Sacred Heart of Jesus! You must be Catholic!"
He said, "No, I am not Catholic. Jim Monaghan brought that in here. He comes in all the time."
Jim Monaghan is the brother of pizza mogul Tom Monaghan, of course. I have met Jim Monaghan on a few occasions. He sometimes stopped in to order Masses when I worked as a secretary at Christ the King Catholic Church after losing my job at the Ann Arbor News and before starting my career with Aflac. I know Jim Monaghan has a HUGE devotion to the Blessed Mother because he frequently spoke of her when he stopped by the office -- and because once, before I had run into him as the Christ the King Secretary, I was standing in line at Busch's Grocery Store with bunch of Holy Candles with the Blessed Mother picture on them. He was very happy to see me buying up all the Blessed Mother candles and he said some words to me to encourage me in my faith. I did not know at that time that he was the brother of Tom Monaghan. I just thought he was a guy who loved the Blessed Mother.
So, of course, I told the garage owner if Jim Monaghan happens to come in tomorrow to give him my number and tell him about my desire to hit fireball -- and to mention that I am the former secretary of Christ the King since he will probably remember me. The garage owner told me he would do that. I thanked him and set off to go to the pawn shop across the street that he referred me to. The garage owner told me they had about five or six employees over there.
So I went in to the pawn shop and the owner told me, once he found out what I was there for, that he was "not interested." I asked him "Can I please just finish my story?" He told me I could. So I told him about how I had been a journalist and now I am a saleswoman but I am not all that good at being a saleswoman and I have so much to learn and how I have to hit fireball tomorrow. I told him if I do hit fireball I get roses but if I don't hit fireball, they kind of look at you like someone who should consider another career.
He told he he had no problem with me asking his employees if they were interested but they were only open for another half hour. I asked him if I could come back at 9 a.m. tomorrow when they open and he said that would be fine. So I have that scheduled for tomorrow.
The furniture salesman also asked me to go see the guys at this motorcycle repair shop. I did not strike it off with the owner of that shop. I used the same conversational approach with him that I used on the man at the pawn shop but I didn't realize that I was getting on his nerves. He wasn't saying anything. And then suddenly he looked at me and said: "You need to leave NOW!" I felt really bad. I said, "I'm sorry, have I irritated you?" He said:"Yes. You need to leave now!" I should have just left then, I know, but to be honest with you, I was pretty flabbergasted. I had been very polite to him and wasn't trying to sell him but only to get referrals in the neighborhood. "Can you tell me what it was that I said that irritated you?" I asked. I thought I saw steam come out of his nostrils and ears at that moment. He was already sun burned which is why, I guess, I hadn't noticed his face getting red!
Of course, I got right out of there then and apologized to the motorcycle mechanic for irritating him. One of my best friends in college had become a Harley mechanic and later a BMW mechanic. As far as I know, he still fixes motorcycles. I just hadn't expected to be so irritating to a motorcycle mechanic. I guess this one hasn't read about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, though. I suppose he wouldn't appreciate it if I dropped that book off to him as a little apology, either!
As long as I was in the neighborhood, I thought I might drop in at a hair salon I had visited in the past. The owner wants to get Aflac when she hires a staff but at the moment it is just her. I thought I would drop in and see if she might be interested in getting a policy for herself for now. I told her about my fireball and my goal. She was very friendly but couldn't think of anybody who would be interested. She said, "I will pray for you when I get home tonight, though. I can do that!"
I told her THANK YOU so much! And then I told her the story about the Blessed Mother and also the story about Jim Monaghan and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She thought that was very interesting! She told he she cuts the hair of Jim Monaghan's ex-wife. And on top of that, she cuts hair for a whole bunch of nuns I know from a few different orders. She knows a whole bunch of people who go to my church. Also, she has a sister who is in remission from cancer. I told her I would pray for her sister when I say my rosary tonight and I thanked her for her willingness to pray for me to get my fireball.
It's just too much coincidence. And I don't really believe in coincidence. The Blessed Mother is up to something! I will keep you posted.
Seriously, call me right away (734-686-1165) if you are willing to hear a direct presentation tomorrow about a cancer policy or an accident policy or a dental policy... or if you know a small business owner who will consider letting me drop in tomorrow to write his or her employees short-term disability policies. Aflac is 100 percent employee funded.
Ok.. that's about it. I guess I'm ready to say my Rosary!