Dan Larson

When I was hired by Dan Larson at Willow Creek Church, I came with some baggage.  My wife Laura had been into a four year battle with cancer, but I was optimistic that she would beat this. Laura handled so many things at home: the boys schooling, sports, birthday parties, holidays, vacation planning. I had a lot to learn and needed to step up, which I stunk at. I struggled all the time. Every Thursday we had a production meeting and many times Dan was led to let me share my life, knowing it was going to be tough to hear. Often times I really didn’t want to share. I knew if I told the whole truth, I would be bringing the group down. Dan would say, “Okay Don, just take the lid off and let it all out.” It was a great comfort that even though Dan was my boss, he was my brother in Christ. I knew that in that production meeting, those guys got it. They felt it too. I knew they would pray. As I look back now I wasn’t there 100%. I had to be carried quite often. I was fortunate that Dan and his team covered for me. If I needed time to go to take Laura for chemo or surgery, MRI’s, whatever, it was never an issue. “Do what you need to do,” without question was Dan’s response.

In the last few months of Laura’s life, I needed to set up Hospice at home and leave work. There was Dan, setting up the details getting things approved through HR. Dan always asked, “Is there something we can do?” Laura was a saint. She suffered without complaining and she finally got to be with Jesus. It was bittersweet because the quality of her life was bad and we wanted something better for her but we didn’t want to let her go.

After Laura’s passing, I was still shook up. Dan was easy on me and I appreciated it. He was a great boss: kind, tender hearted and compassionate, as is Jesus. I’m grateful for where I was during the hardest time of my life.