Wednesday, November 29, 2006

From Generals to Joshua

In 1985 I served under LTG Palastra, CG, I Corps & Ft Lewis. He was a political man f who always wanted to be a Pentagon officer, and became one. Well decorated, but not a soldiers General. In 1986 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf...Stormin' Norman!...took command. At the cermony Palastra rambled on. Then Schwarzkoph took the podium and our spines tingled, our chests swelled... He said nothing, he just surveyed us as he would a battlefield. "I appolgize for my silence, but I wanted to appreciate all of you before me," he began. He praised us, and pumped us up, and left the stand in short order after these words, "the best way to thank a soldier is to not make them stand for a long time on a parade field...Commanders, dismiss your troops." We would have followed this man anywhere!

Joshua... Joshua and Strormin' Norman had some things in common. I can hear his final speach before the thousands (read Joshua 24). He recounted the history of a people and God's deliverance. Challenging them. I believe the people were moved in spirit, they tingled with pride in who they were, and their chests rose to their high calling in God. And I believe they shouted his final words with Joshua - having heard them so often..."Choose you this day who you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will choose the Lord!" The people went wild in affirmation. The soldiers shouted HOOAH! in Hebrew (anybody know how to say that?). And Israel remained faithful beyond Joshua's days, faithful until the last elder present at the great speech died. Then, as my daughters like to say, "Pride comes before the monkey," and Israel fell away. ( Joshua 24-Judges 1).

So what's left to say. Choose you this day who you will serve...but as for ME and MY house, we will serve the Lord!

The importance of being dangerous

From Sheakspeare...
Let me have men around me who are fat,
Sleek-headed men, and men who sleep at night.
Cassius, over there, has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Caesar describes Cassius in these terms. I don't read Sheakspeare mind you (I don't even care if I spelled his name right!), but I find these words interesting for some reason. There's something wrong with leaders who fear men like Cassius isn't there? I think maybe Rome collapsed, among many other reasons, for lack of men like Cassius. Men like Cassius are dangerous aren't they...if you're Caesar. So were men like Stephen and John. Paul, Matthew, Joshua and Caleb. Dangerous men change the world. Not deep thoughts today - just thoughts.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Seattle, vices and Bob Seeger

In 1984 I joined the Army. After infantry school and airborn school (60 jumps...HOOAH!), I found myself in Washington State. I like to think of my life in chapters, and I think of this part of my past the fondest. Seattle, Tacoma, The mountains, the ocean, the rainforests, friends...friends. The photo below assuming it posts, is my Seattle. I immagine the picture is about 15 years old, but then I guess I havn't been there in at least 15 years. How does time move so fast? Vices? I suppose we all have is definitely one of mine. 60's thru 80's mostly. Little River Band, Charlie Daniels, Queen, Bob Seeger - I was listening to Bob on the Radio a few nights ago, still nostalgic as I so often am this time of year..."and sometimes even now, when I find myself lonely and beat, I drift back in time and find my feet down on Main Street." Mainstreet isn't a quarter mile section of concrete and asphalt for me - it a series of cities, a mountain highway, an old military fort on the ocean, it's climbing steel girder bridges and wondering now why I'm still alive. It's about a time when I really was alive... Do you understand? There's nothing wrong with my life now, I'm still alive, but when your young life is so vivid. That's Main Street. Thanks Bob Seeger. I suspect if you ask Bob from my previous post he might agree? I'm thankful for mainstreet, it's nice to think about from time to time. It's not the blessing that today is with a beautiful wife, three charming girls, but still I wouldn't go back. I've rambled, but maybe that's what blogs are about?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Veteran's Day; a week late

Last Sunday was busy...we forgot to have the Veterans stand. I noticed, probobally because I am one. My service to my country is important to me. As a young man (not that I'm an old man now), I was disappointed for never having seen combat. So much training - for nothing. Great training: Airborn Infantry, Long Range Recon, Scuba, Rifles and Pistols and Demo - Oh my! For goodness sakes, I killed and ate a rattlesnake and an armadillo with my bare hands and a little help from my USMC Ka-Bar knife (who says Marine's are worthless?).

Today I feel a little differently. I feel blessed to never have had to kill. I served, and I'm blessed! God is so good. I'm sure there will be much more on my service as time passes. But what I really want to say is, there's a guy named Bob. He's 84, and he's cool! I don't really know Bob - actually I don't know him at all. But from back in my soundbooth this morning I was able to record him playing his harmonica. Blessed Assurance. They asked the Veterans to stand, they did, but Bob didn't sit. "My name's Bob," he said. "I'm 84 years old and I served in WWII. I'd like to play something for you..." And he did, and it was good. Very cool! I won't get started about patriotism, or the flag, or the war in Iraq. But I will say I'm proud of Bob, and guys like him. As Ray Boltz says, "It's (been) an honor to serve."

I'm not done with forgiveness...but that's another day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What I do...

Someone recently asked me, "Just what is it that you do?" I build I said...paused...and a lot more than that. Contracts and contractors and architects. Faculty groups. Playing nice in the sandbox kind of stuff sometimes. So much wading through the quagmire of building on a small liberal arts campus. And sometimes I do things that are really special.

A woman cherished by our campus community died recently. Somehow it fell to my desk to purchase and plant a tree in her memory. Simple right? Plant the tree. Leave. No big deal. But instead I took a moment and met with the husband... "she was vibrant - the tree has to reflect that." The sunset maple was too red, the bradford pear too delicate, but the sugar maple. The sugar maple would be perfect. Red and orange and yellow, blazing in the fall, different with each season. Vibrant and colorful, just like her. Yesterday I made it just a little easier for a wonderful man to deal with the loss of his bride. I wished I could have done more. Somedays thats what I do...