Monday, November 18, 2013

Hidden Dangers

While our family lived in the bush of Zambia I was responsible for the infrastructure of a rather large compound. The compound contained a boarding school for around five hundred students, a hospital with a nurses teaching school. So, it was a large place with quite a few people depending on the utilities that I was responsible for. During the rains we would go days without public power and I would have to oversee the generator system that served the hospital, school and all of the residents.

After a rather long rainy season one of the street lights shorted out. As bad as that was every other light was without power as well. Remember the Christmas lights, one bulb burns out and the rest do not work. Well, that was the street light system. After two or three days of looking, which meant a ladder to each pole and checking every wire, I located the culprit. It was going to be an easy fix as the insulation was worn off a wire and shorted out.

With the ladder in place I climbed the twenty foot pole and set about cutting and splicing the wire. A worker by the name of Office, was holding the ladder. Now picture this, if you can, Office weighed about ninety pounds with wet clothes on. I weighed 2.5 times his weight, do the math.  I really don't remember how close I got to having the repair done. After a very unnerving and rather ominous sound everything went blank.

White ants had eaten through the utility pole and now I was riding it towards a waiting fence and the ground. As I was holding on to the ladder in a rather fast decent the last image was my friend Office, trying to hold the pole and the ladder up. I made a split second decision to get off the ladder just before it hit the ground. That move saved me from some certain pain from head to toe. After a successful roll I ended up with just a broken ankle.

One hidden failure left the people in the dark for a week or more. Once it was found and repaired, by someone else, the lights were on and people walked the dark red clay road in safety. The other hidden failure, wood eating ants, had longer lasting consequences. I had to hobble as the hospital had no fix for my ankle. The pole had to be replaced and I had to deal with a bunch of men who laughed at me and Office as they made motions of Office trying to hold up the pole with me at the top.

Some things in our lives we wish could be hidden forever, they can't and won't. There will be no secrets in the afterlife. Grace will cover the forgiven and their secret burdens will vanish.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Folded Flag

There wasn't much that could stop the cold blast from the wind. There were only a few trees and an old clap board building in the cemetery and their flimsy resistance to the blast of cold was some distance from us. December in Riverview Michigan can be a mixed bag of weather conditions. Ice hockey on the local pond can be in full swing or the rain and mud can reign. That December day the ground was frozen and the wind spit balls of snow and ice.

My mother and father were seated on metal folding chairs close to the grave and the artificial turf that was trying in vain to disguise the hole. The honor guard stood at the rear of the hearse and the shinning black and chrome door swung open. The men from the funeral home were quiet, yet direct in their instructions to the honor guard. As the casket rolled from the hearse the men took their position, bearing their burden to the tent and the waiting grief stricken family members and the multitude of friends.

The flag seemed to wrap the casket like a cocoon, her colors were vivid and brilliant. I had never noticed the sharp contrast between red stripe and white stripe as I did that day. Each white star seemed to shine against the deep blue background. My family, and the others, were gathered in the presence of something sacred, dare I say, almost holy.

More words were said about the young Marine, my brother. Words about selflessness and willingness to serve were offered. The chaplain spoke words of ashes to ashes and dust to dust and then he prayed. As soon as he finished his prayer he stepped back from the casket and the honor guard stepped forward.

The flag seemed to float from the casket as expert hands moved in perfect unison and harmony and the rectangle was transformed into triangle with her stars shinning again. With fluid motions and grace the man in the dress blues bent low and placed the flag into the hands of my mother. He moved back to his position and plain and clear orders were given. The rifles cracked their salute to the Marine.

Before the wind could be heard again the mournful sound of the bugle announced, "Day is done". Most eyes were stinging as Taps brought tears to cold cheeks. The mournful sound from the bugle and the crack of the rifles is a combination seared into the soul of those who must experience it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giving up- Not an Option

Two years ago my book about our life in Zambia and the events that followed was doing to be printed. My family and many friends were excited for me. Every person who read the story gave me very positive comments and very sure of the success of the book and the power in the message. Upon the release my expectations were high. I knew that I had a lot of work to do to make the book a success.

The first month of the book out on the market I sold a couple of hundred copies. I had no idea of how to measure whether that was good or poor. I traveled to a few places close by and told the story of how love can save and transform a life. I was committed to the story and the message of love that should be colorblind.

The second week of August I received a letter in the mail from the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Arizona. The company that printed my book filed bankruptcy. They had copies of books from many authors and they had my print files from the manuscript and all the cover art. I was angry and disheartened. The information from the courts was not welcome. The publisher had files and did not know when and if they would be released.

Almost three months later I was able to speak to the Acquisition Editor who had left the, now bankrupt company, months before their demise. He was able to recover the entire publishing files for me. I breathed a sigh of relief and felt that God was behind this event. I worked with the editor, now a friendly acquaintance, and he was willing to pitch my book to  a new publishing house. My sense of hope continued to grow and just past New Years I received an email message stating that my book had been accepted.

Twenty months since the first printing the book is set to be released. The company, Morgan James Publishing is a top notch publishing house and the blessings to me continue to roll in. They have put me in touch with a publicist, Meg McAllister, who loves my story and is helping, in a big way. Meg, in turn, put me in touch with a really gifted media company that is building my web site.

All of this is coming about because God put into the hearts of people a desire to help tell the story of colorblind love that can transform a life and the world.

If God has your heart, never give up. The tribulations and disappointments will always be temporary.

My website, will be up before the end of November. This blog will be available through the website as well.