I am enjoying the good fortune and blessing of a relatively new job. I had been with my previous succession of employers (mergers and acquisitions) for over 22 years and was beginning to look toward the retirement benefits that I was accruing and the shape of my career path with this employer for the next 15 years or so. Then, out-of-the-blue, and without getting into all the details, I was contacted last December by the “talent acquisition team” of my soon-to-be new employer. I had no specific desire to change employers. For what I think to be obvious reasons, I was reluctant at this point in my life to leave the career I had known and tackle a new career. But Melanie and I prayed about it; we talked about; we weighed everything out. I kept asking the Lord if this was really what he wanted me to do? Well, you already know the answer. I took a leap of faith and accepted their offer. I said all that to give the rest of my blog some context. One of the true blessings of working for my non-profit, faith-based employer is the daily “Reflections” that are sent to us by our Director of Mission Integration. Glenn is his name, and he is our “spiritual” leader at my employer. His background is a little different than mine, but he is an ardent follower of Christ, and EVERY day he creates some great food for spiritual thought. So I wanted to share one of his recent reflections (Glenn has given me permission to use and share his reflections and some of you have seen them in your e-mail). Glenn wrote the following:
In recent years Morton Kondracke has been one of the most recognizable American political commentators.
The independent-thinking journalist appeared as a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and co-hosted The Beltway Boys on the Fox Network.
But few knew the back story of Kondracke’s life during those years. In 1988 his wife Milly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Kondracke remembers:
“She had beautiful handwriting, and she was writing a check and couldn’t form the letter K. It looked fine to me. But she insisted that, no, there was something wrong.
“Later she had a tremor in the little finger of her right hand, and then her foot would sort of wobble on the brakes when she was driving.
“She was given Symmetrel – which is a Parkinson’s medicine – by a doctor, and he didn’t tell her what it was. But she called me at work one day, totally distraught and hysterical in a way that I’d never heard Milly before.
“She said, you have to come home right away. Something terrible has happened. So I raced home.
“There she was standing in the bedroom with this bottle in her hand. She said, ‘This is a Parkinson’s medicine. I’ve seen Parkinson’s. It’s a horrible disease. I won’t be able to talk. I won’t be able to walk. I won’t be able to swallow. I won’t be able to eat. You’ll have to take me to the bathroom.
“’I’ll be totally dependent. You won’t love me anymore. You’ll leave me.’
Every one of the physical limitations that Milly dreaded came true. She ultimately lost her battle to Parkinson’s in 2004.
But Kondracke did not leave her. And he did not stop loving her.
During one of the hardest times he wrote: “Multiple times a day I pray for help and strength and Milly’s deliverance. I simply couldn’t do this without feeling that I was doing God’s work in a small way. I’ve asked God innumerable times, So what is my purpose here on earth? hoping that he will add a new and grandiose dimension to this, which he never does.
“The message always comes back the same: Your job here is to take care of Milly.”
No matter what we’re facing today, and no matter how silent God might seem, we can be certain of one of our most important jobs.
Our job, by God’s grace, is to help take care of each other.
I’ve often shared Mr. Kondracke’s hope – that my time on this earth would be noteworthy and have a memorable impact either for simple good or in a way that would glorify God through my life and work. But what is glorifying God? It’s certainly not my lack of humility. I would think one could not argue with the idea that it is to live out the words of His son to the best of our ability, starting with Mark 12:
29 “The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
And that goes back to what Mort Kondracke and Glenn expounded upon. We’re here to love each other…warts and all…and to take care of each other – in the name of our Heavenly Father.
That IS our grandiose purpose in the eyes of the only One that matters – and it starts with me.
Grace and Peace to you,