Monday morning. 4:15 a.m. Alarm goes off. Shower. Pack. Rental car. Richmond Airport. Long lines at security. Board the first flight. Short answers to 22 e-mails. Land early at DFW. Off to the Admiral’s Club. Send e-mails. Get more. Grind away. More celebration of the weekend with the team. Good-bye to Loretta. Second flight. WiFi on board. Fifteen more e-mails. Two blogs to Sandy for proofing. Land in Orange County. Can’t find where I left the car. Found it. Drive to the office. Smells musty like we have been gone six weeks. Gross. Team hammers down. Five days of shipping. UPS. Post Office. Banking. A/P. Enter credit card sales. Check the fridge. Yuck. Celery is moribund. Probably was when we left. Shred the credit card slips. Shredding and celery to the dumpster. Off to the grocery store. Food for a week for the office. Back to the office to stock the fridge. Leave feeling great about where we are at the start of a week. Forget my chiropractic appointment. Dry cleaners. Drop off and pick up. Home. Grab the Windex and paper towel and dust my desk. Grudgingly move the piles of “Urgent To Read” books off the edge of the desk by the recliner onto the shelf. A touch of non-reality there. Replace them with the two new books I was given on this trip. Unpack computer case and set up laptop. Crumb! Wireless keyboard won’t work. Change batteries. Still won’t work. Finally find the switch. How could I have a keyboard for a year and not know it had a switch? Unpack. Get that suitcase OUTOFMYSIGHT. Plug in cell phone to charge. Shower. Collapse on the couch in a pathetic puddle. Nearly asleep in two minutes. Jerk awake. Can’t have that. Too early. Check the time. 6:18. UGH. Negotiate internally. Try to make it to 7:00 p.m. before heading to bed. Got to focus on something to stay awake. Could answer more e-mails. Gross! So done with e-mails for the day. What can we think about?
ANDREW IS COMING!
Where did that come from?
Of course he is coming. Friday. All day. It has been on the calendar for a while. He confirmed from New York that he is not only coming, but is anticipating coming. I know that.
Odd that with a thousand things and people I could think about to stay awake another 31 minutes that my excitement about Andrew should jump to the head of the list. Go figure.
OK. Objective 1: Stay awake. Objective 2: Find out why I am so excited about Andrew.
Hmmm . . .
1) Well, I eat really well when he is in town. He is Cheerleader Number One in the whole world for Megan’s cooking. He comes once or twice a year, she trots out some gastronomic delight for him (allowing me to sit in), and he lays it on thick to be sure she does it again next time. She does.
Fun stuff for sure, but probably not the main reason my spirit is so excited about Andrew coming.
2) As befits an Oxford grad with a robust command of the Queen’s English, he speaks in complete sentences, causing the process of data transfer and ideological exploration to be a cognitive feast, markedly more gratifying to my neurons than the tantalizing fragrances from the kitchen. (Sorry Megan. It is just the way it is).
In a world of Twitter-like e-mails with monosyllabic misspellings and content to match, Andrew is a balm to my brain.
Good stuff, but probably not the main reason my spirit is so excited about Andrew coming.
This is feeling a lot like playing Twenty Questions with my sister half a century ago. But at least I am still awake at 6:34.
3) He is a social entrepreneur — my favorite tribe in the whole world. I theorize. He is doing it. I love listening to him tell of moving an entire generation in one region of his nation from a war induced survival mentality to investing in themselves and their farms.
Last time we brainstormed a strategy to begin to build a generational world view among these newly affluent so they invest their liquid assets in building their communities’ infrastructure and in growing their children’s intellectual capital.
I am on tip toe with expectation to hear his report of initial forays into this facet of values building.
Definitely much closer to the sweet spot, but not there yet.
4) He is a father.
I so enjoy the updates of each of his kids, both by birth and adoption, as well as his extensive involvement in the locally supported orphanages in the community.
Sparkly, but not it yet . . .
5) Ah, there it is. He can deal with an ambiguous God, with grace and class.
So rare. So special.
God has done amazing miracles for Andrew. His life is a convoluted playing field for God and the devil, and God has redefined brinkmanship as He has snatched victory from the devil’s hand time after time. I love the stories.
But running side by side with the strand of glory stories that is so prominent in his life, are two other strands: grueling hard work and the silences of God.
It is an odd combination. Even those around him struggle at times to understand what gets him out of bed in the morning, one more time. God has never made his path wide and easy. He does the heavy lifting in every imaginable way.
And there is one large area in his life where he has pushed in the natural, leveraged principles, cried out to God, enlisted prayer support from others, and still not seen movement.
It is baffling.
But it does not rob his peace.
This is the part of Andrew I draw such strength from. When God is selectively silent and distant, it hurts but does not destabilize him. Even though God’s non-intervention forces him to work harder, longer and in strange manners, he does not doubt in the shadows what God showed him in the light.
Andrew is coming on Friday.
And my spirit will be refreshed.
6:47 p.m. Sigh.
Enough already with fighting sleep.
Note to self: write a blog about Andrew in the morning; take your weary body to bed right now.
Copyright March 27, 2012 by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim