Goodbye #11: Women’s Lib

As I was driving home from my weekend of many miles, many people and many emotional ups and downs, I rejoiced over being done with the goodbyes.  I was ready to lean into the packing this week, intensely, and it felt good to be looking forward to tangible things instead of circling around old pain.

Unexpectedly, the Lord informed me I had one more:  Safeguard Business Systems.  I was quite surprised.  It was my first full-time job, ‘way, ‘way back, and I could not remember any deep trauma there.

Back then I was still quite divided, so I wondered briefly whether I had forgotten some big ugly episode, but as I felt the emotions of Jesus next to me, I realized He had a surprise for me.

Bring it on.

Yesterday I was busier than a cat on a hot tin roof, but today I came into the office, dealt with the urgent matters, went to the car wash to part ways with a few thousand dead bugs, then headed up the infamous 5 to 6117 S. Malt Ave., City of Commerce.  It has been 44 years and I still remember the address.  Go figure.

Some other company is in that space now, but I sat across the street in the shade and waited for God to surface a memory or two.

It was in 1973 and the women’s liberation movement was going strong.  I was the only male in an office of women ranging from 19 to 59.  And I was greener than little green apples.  I knew nothing about the trade, less about the culture, and was feeling my way along gently, trying to stay out of trouble.

One day, the biggest personality in the room — who sat right next to my desk — had a phone call from her husband and — as usual — exploded all over the room and informed us in gritty detail of her view of it all and how she had put him in his place, emphatically.

Her final statement was a roaring announcement that she would never marry a man unless she was his physical, intellectual and emotional superior.

My agile little Prophet mind immediately crafted a zinger:  “I didn’t know they made men that small.”

My Olympic Gold medal exceptionally agile gymnast guardian angel managed to kindly, temporarily strangle me before I actually said it out loud to keep me from being savagely and terminally strangled by the termagant at the next desk.

God and I smiled about that and I made a note to look up that angel some day and commend him for his extraordinary alacrity.

Then the scene shifted to computers.  They were newly added to this company’s strategy and were a source of immense fear.  There were endless conversations about how computers were so efficient that they were going to eliminate most of the jobs in the world and we would all be unemployed.

The angst was deep and variegated and the verbalization of it was intense and persistent.

I never bought in.

I pointed out that someone had to design, and manufacture, and install, and operate, and maintain the computers.  It was just a shift from one kind of labor to another.

My prescience was flicked away authoritatively.

Nonetheless, I was so right.  Computers have actually massively increased employment by causing a lot of people to fuss about a lot of data that we didn’t used to have access to and therefore did not need to be monitored.

(Insert identical conversations about robots here).

Father pointed out that He had designed me for transition, had gifted me with the ability to be unintimidated by most transitions, and often to be able to see what the new season would look like.

And He likes that about me.

I scrolled through a bunch of the transitions I have lived through and see how time and again, I was an offense to people around me because I was not upset.

So cool to know that those situations were bringing pleasure to Father.

And that it is a portion of my design that matters so much to Him, that He insisted on our having this conversation so He could point it out.  As a green 19 year old, DID jungle kid in a concrete jungle, I was already walking in my design.

Then the scene shifted again, this time to the lives of my coworkers.  He scrolled through the divorces, affairs, debt, hangovers, fractured relationships, fear, legal problems, and general futility in that room.

As I made like a mouse, huddled at my desk, they talked about everything and anything.  Talk about transparent and authentic.  I got an education in terms of dysfunctional humanism!

Father said it was like a vaccination.  From that time on, “the pleasures of sin” have always been suspect to me, as I saw, day after day — especially Monday mornings! — the down side of the culture’s values.


All that from a dorky little job in the accounting department of an aggressive business.  (Can you imagine a Prophet in a windowless room, doing bookkeeping?)

As I drove away, I cautiously pinged the Lord and asked if I was done with the goodbyes.  He smiled and said “Yes.”

So it is official.  As of 9:37 a.m., Tuesday, July 24th, I am free to be done with my goodbyes, and to shift my attention toward saying “Hello” to South Carolina.

The visual illusion of my body being at a desk in Southern California, is simply irrelevant.  This Prophet is out of here.  Gone!  Onward.

Spartanburg, here I come.

Copyright with a smile, July 2018 by Arthur Burk


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11 Responses to Goodbye #11: Women’s Lib

  1. Elouise says:

    And then something else: the shooting range! That must’ve been a good goodbye too!
    Have fun in moving forward!

  2. Elouise says:

    At first I wanted to say that we serve an awesome God, but that didn’t cover it.
    That’s not what I see.
    What I see is that we have the privilege of knowing the Creator of the universe as our Father. And He is BIGGER than we can imagine. He is in everything, every detail of our lives.
    That’s what I see in this whole process. It is beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing your walk with us.

  3. Patti says:

    Really happy for you Arthur! Press on brother.

  4. Brant says:

    Love reading this, especially the witty, “I didn’t know they made men that small”! Keep going prophet!

  5. Cynthia says:

    Prophet’s zinger brought the biggest out-loud laugh I have experienced in quite a while. Good thing about the Olympic Gold guardian angel. Otherwise we would all have missed out from your untimely demise.

    Congratulations on the transition into forward-looking! We have all learned deeply from you as you have shared your tenacious, in-depth reality-examination of the past and the present. Very few of us would have made it through the length and depth, or have faced the memories, the pain, and the epiphanies with such dogged faith and transparency. Your tribe is thrilled for the next chapter, the new location, for deeper revelation and new joys and challenges. What is it Megan always says? Further up and further in! (Oh, wait, that was actually C. S. Lewis . . .)

  6. Narola Grady says:

    Loved the zinger, and the picture of what that job revealed about you. My Irish husband comes up with those lines often, and we both laugh. That snapshot will help me as I encounter memories of former jobs.

  7. Janis Leal says:

    Laughing, smiling, laughing, smiling, laughing, smiling…


  8. Chuck Wale says:

    “Can you imagine a Prophet in a windowless room, doing bookkeeping?” Now that is funny. I am still laughing!

  9. Nathan Noble says:

    Yahoo! Celebrating with you. Termagant. That was a new word for me

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