Surprised by Emotions

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?



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

This entry was posted in Beauty, Design, Family News, The Kingdom of God, Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Surprised by Emotions

  1. Natasha Seppala says:

    What book is this by Andrew whom? I want to get my hands on this book…. tata!

  2. Sonja Bennett says:

    Ok Arthur. I have obsessively thought about this posting over and over for nearly a week now and the first thing I find myself doing today (my day off) is revisiting it AGAIN only this time by reading it over and over, AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY! So, after spending several hours (probably way too long) of pondering and dissecting your post I have discovered several things. First of all, it is the first part that has strangely captivated me (the seemingly “unspiritual” part) not the latter about getting together with your obviously very spiritually awesome friend! Here is what I have discovered so far. It made me laugh out loud the first time I read it, so much so that I read it to my husband and kids. They didn’t laugh…go figure? It was sobering to realize that I very rarely see the same humor in it when it happens to me! (I’m sorry Arthur) Secondly, the parts I found funny were when you couldn’t remember where you parked your car, disposed of the deceased celery and forgot your chiropractic appointment! I can SOOO relate to them! I was surprised to recognize the many spiritual encounters I have so often taken for granted when I have been in situations like yours. As for the lost car (or any important item) there is usually a quick prayer for help and a relatively quick answer as He points out the lost object. A grateful “High Five” to Him and off I go. As for the rotten food in a neglected refrigerator, it would have been a quick plea for “strength” to maintain a grateful attitude while doing the unpleasant task. It would have come…probably without much of even a “thanks” from me. As for the forgotten appointment, I would have had to deal with the oh-so-common guilt I often feel for “dropping the ball”. Again, I typically run to Father for reassurance that it is OK to make mistakes and that I am still loved the same as ever. The peace would eventually come and I would silently embrace Him. But…the tragedy is that I often miss the joy or humor and very rarely see those times as spiritually significant and how closely He really walks with me. I have often called days like you had a “waste of time” being unable to see or feel all the great things that were experienced and done, only feeling gratitude when it was over. But, after pondering your post, I can see and “feel” the peaceful joy (and possible chuckle) that is available to me (even when exhausted) after such a day if I would remember to look at them through a different lens . THAT is something to celebrate!! Wow Arthur! I would have NEVER guessed that your very busy bump-filled Monday would have been so spiritually important to me! You? Thank you for sharing it!

  3. Joyful says:

    Something about how you painted Andrew’s portrait felt true for me too. I live somewhere between crushing physical symptoms and a soaring spirit every day. Even with this reality, the largest non-negotiable in my world is the goodness of God.

  4. Sonia says:

    Thank you so much Arthur being so real and transparent. Thank for being real about the battles in every dimension. Thank you for sharing your joy with us as well. I bless your day today with Andrew! I bless the office, Megan’s meals and every topic that the King wants you to discuss and may joy increase in every glory story to be shared.
    I look forward to reading Andrew’s book.

  5. Min says:

    Thanks Arthur,
    Since being introduced to Andrew Rugisare and Good African Coffee in one of your previous teachings, I felt my spirit leap with recognition and joy at your description of your anticipation of time spent with him. I too has been blessed with knowing and working with men and women from that great prophet nation. I also recognise a thread in your description of the glory stories intertwined with grueling hard work and silences of God. As I think about listening to the stories of His noble subjects who share the playing field of that beautiful fruitful green land and I wonder if it may be a characteristic of the land or the time. Maybe descriptive of living through the tumultuous labour of redeeming the land while such a tumultuous battle for the land continues in the heavenlies and on earth? And I think about my friends and teachers and students in Uganda and what I am constantly blessed and amazed by is their large-hearted generosity – in giving and receiving.
    Like Kathy, I loved your description of the Oxfordian with queen;s English and as often your gifted descriptions so often unlock a new understanding for me, this time about how my brain works, especially in the time.pressured technologically driven world of 2012. Thanks again for so much!

  6. Ellen says:

    Those who take us beyond where we are to where God wants us to be stretched to be…….challenge, amaze, champion, reflect, and congratulate us……… best friends to have and definitely gifts from our Maker, the best friend who loves us with these “gifts’. Thanks you so much, Arthur for sharing this……… Your friend would definitely be inspiration for a book..

  7. Glenn says:


    Thank you for allowing us a refreshingly transparent look into the intimate relationship that Papa and you enjoy. It was timely and of immense encouragement to my spirit to able to appreciate the love He is demonstrating to Andrew and to you.

    The power of life and death truly is in the tongue, or in this case spoken through the fingers.

  8. dorisann says:

    A slice of real life from you is a joy, Arthur. More than that, to hear about a Big Spirit who struggles with a silent God really touches my heart, tearful as i write this. Today I was feeling a little like God had passed me by, that I was done or had done what I was supposed to do because there was nothing on the horizon that looked like anything I could get passionate about. I have no energy to muster up passion either. I believe this is part of the plan. Hope you post more about Andrew.

  9. Kathy says:

    ‘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.
    In a world of Twitter-like e-mails with monosyllabic misspellings and content to match, Andrew is a balm to my brain.’ …fed me for the day! thank you!! no one says it like you!

  10. rwilli53 says:

    Well I don’t know who Andrew is or where he is from but your jet-lagged ramblings have definitely made my spirit rise up and say ‘Hey, I’d like to meet this person’ ! I’m sure you will put out more information in the near future?

  11. rwilli53 says:

    Well, I don’t know who Andrew is or where he is from, but your jet-lagged sharing has definitely had the effect of making my spirit rise up and say ‘ hey I’d like to meet this person’ ! I’m sure more information will be forthcoming in the near future?

  12. Kerrie says:

    Thank you, Arthur.

  13. Gina says:

    Very cool, Arthur. Loved being invited into your stream of consciousness. It was real. It was honest and even a bit messy… Been there myself. Ya, I loved this post. Thanks.

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