November Energy and Next Level Blessings

Faith in God will elevate you to next-level blessings.

— Germany Kent —

This past Friday I was bound tightly in emotions foreign to my typical mental state because my business partner and friend, Tom Hagan, passed into the eternal.

When I saw the opening quote, I was reminded of all the “Next-Level Blessings” God granted me in the days leading up to Tom’s passing.

Next Level Blessing #1

On Monday morning. I was running on my favorite stretch of the Canal 66 bike path in Piqua.

As is always the case on Mondays, my iPhone was dialed into the “Learning Leader Show,” by Ryan Hawk. I always enjoy Ryan’s work.

He began his podcast paying a heartfelt tribute to his high school football coach and lifelong mentor, Bob Gregg, who had passed the previous week.

As Ryan spoke, my heart began to weigh heavy, not with sorrow, but with gratitude, as I thought about my buddy and mentor Tom and all he had done for me through the years.

Little did I know, Ryan’s podcast was preparing my heart for the next phase of this morning’s run.

Next Level Blessing #2

About two miles into my run, my phone rang.

It was Tom.

He was calling to inform me that he was entering into hospice care.

In a nutshell, he was tired of fighting and was looking forward to meeting up with his beloved Susie in heaven–Susan Hagan had left all of us much too early seventeen years prior.

We had a fantastic conversation.

He told me how much he loved our family and me; I shared the same with him.

He also thanked me for the great partnership in building little HealthCare Pharmacy into a nationally known presence.

Next Level Blessing #3

Just prior to ending our conversation I asked him a question I had wanted to ask for many years, “Tom, are you good with Jesus?” He immediately said, “Yes, I’m as good as I can be.”

That was good enough for me, and I’m confident it was good enough for Jesus, and the events that followed our call confirmed this thinking.

Next Level Blessing #4, #5, and #6

After hanging up the phone, I began sobbing as I leaned against a tree along the bike path.

My spirit was being bombarded by memories and emotions that were forty years in the making.

Then I heard a sweet voice say, “Are you OK?” So I looked up, and there was an angel in the form of a lady standing a few feet from me.

I shared with her that I had just received news from a very good friend that he was entering hospice care.

She said, “Can I pray for you?” I said, “Yes,” and she put her arm on my shoulder and began praying, and then within an instant, the song “How Great Thou Art” began permeating the air on this crisp, radiant, and gorgeous autumn morning.

The Alexander family’s burial plot in the cemetery adjacent to the bike path has a bell tower that plays How Great Thou Art, Carmen Ohio, and Amazing Grace every hour on the hour.

Tom was good friends with the patriarch of the Alexander family, Cliff.

In the early years of Tom’s business career, Cliff not only served as a friend but as a trusted mentor.

Once I gathered myself and continued on my run, “Amazing Grace” was flowing through the air and into my spirit…how sweet the sound.

Connect the dots in this particular section of today’s writing, and you’ll understand how precious this brief moment on the bike path will forever be for me.

Next-Level Blessing #7

Once I gathered myself, I put an all-call out to our pharmacy’s many “family” members to inform them of Tom’s condition.

The outpouring of sorrow and love from those calls comforted me immensely.

Next-Level Blessing #8

The next day I stopped over to visit him in the facility he helped build.

Ohio’s Hospice, Miami County, was a passion for Tom. We served as their pharmacy for many years, and after Tom retired, he sat on their board of directors and played a pivotal role in giving Miami County a free-standing Hospice unit.

As I entered his room, I saw a placard on the wall letting me know that I was entering the “Tom Hagan Room.”

Yes, he was going to die in a room he had endowed.

If you know anything about Tommy, you know he knew what he was doing. 😉

We had a very good conversation in the room that gave him such great pride.

We shared our love and admiration with each other and even managed to go through a few of the highlights and lowlights of our relationship.

As our conversation concluded, I told him, “Tommy we were the odd couple in so many ways but somehow we made it work.” He nodded his head and said, “Yes we did.”

Love is so powerful.

Next-Level Blessing #9

When it was all said and done, Tom had over one hundred visitors from Tuesday through Thursday.

Imagine being alive at your funeral!?!?

Tom, with God’s help, had orchestrated this unbelievable experience.

Next-Level Blessing #10

Throughout his final days, I was able to spend quality time with his family.

We did a whole lot of laughing and crying.

Another precious experience Tom’s passing granted me.

Next-Level Blessing #11

My most significant support during this rough week was my family, especially my wife, Lori. She took the entire workload with Jordy into her hands and constantly encouraged me to be with Tom.

My oldest, Jason, and youngest Michelle, were keeping tabs on “Uncle Tom’s” condition all week. They both loved him but beyond that, they knew how tightly Tom’s spirit and mine were interwoven. Their concern for my pain gave me great comfort.

Next-Level Blessing #12

A couple of hours after Tom’s passing, I received a text from Lori notifying me that she had spotted an eagle flying around our prairie.

This was a first!

I’ve prayed for years for God to send an eagle to live with us at Serenity Acres.

After Lori’s text, I immediately ran towards the prairie, and here it came.

It was flying low and heading my way.

It flew majestically and did a “wing dip” right before my very eyes.

It had a focused look on its face as it was heading toward the tallest tree in our country square.

And then it landed and sat boldly, as only eagles do, and just stared at me as I stared at it.

The tallest tree in our block is on Tom’s former property, which sits adjacent to ours.

You guessed it!

This was God and Tom’s way of telling me all is well, How Great Thou Art, and sending me a final “Next-Level Blessing” because of God’s Amazing Grace.

I began sobbing as my heart overflowed with gratitude.

Our God is so great and so amazing!

So, what does all of this have to do with taking care of our spirit, mind, and bodies throughout the holiday season?

Back to my interpretation of the opening quote…

Holding onto your faith in God during life’s biggest challenges will open your eyes to blessings you otherwise would not see.

These types of blessings are “Next-Level Blessings.”

I always write from experience.

Why not make this holiday season all about strengthening your faith and keeping your eyes open to experience His Next-Level Blessings?


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