The General Means Business


I never ceased to be amazed. For two or three weeks, I’ve thought the General was prematurely in the midst of spring-cleaning. Trust me, she is now a woman fully enmeshed in the project. It is like peeling layers off of an onion. One layer simply leads to another.  I have the sense that she’s having the time of her life.  It has become her short-term mission!  Actually, she is a scary woman on a mission!  She clearly is operating under the mindset that: “Less is more”.  I’m simply trying to stay out of her way.  In addition, I hope my things stay intact. 


Last night the General mentioned: “Why don’t we get rid of the roll-top desk?”  If I had been a man of courage and boldness, I would have immediately answered: “Because the desk is not yours.  It’s mine”.  How is that for thinking on my feet and having the good sense to keep my mouth shut?  Of course, the General previously worked with the “best in the business” when it comes to attorneys having expertise in family law. Consequently, she’s already got it figured out that the roll-top desk is not really mine.  It is mostly hers. 


It bothers me a little bit that “Murder She Wrote” used to be one of her favorite series on television.  The General also worked for criminal attorneys who also represented the “best in the business” when it comes to murder cases. Consequently, I’m attempting to keep a low profile.  I would say, “A very low profile”, but I hesitate to go that far.  It might fall into the category of “six-feet under”.  If you ask me, “that clearly would be overkill”.  


Having now made a couple of trips to Goodwill over this past week, I am astounded by the quantity of stuff that people donate. Yesterday, at the Goodwill store in Dripping Springs, there were stacks and stacks of stuff piled outside the store.  So, the conclusion I’ve reached is that none of this has anything to do with spring-cleaning.  It has everything to do with a New Year.  It is simply, “Out with the old and in with the new”.  It is now obvious to me that a lot of people toss stuff out at the beginning of a new year.  Somehow the innate need to do that missed me.  I am a happy-go-lucky guy.  Don’t mess with me and don’t mess with my stuff.


I won’t suggest that the General has a vested interest in all this “right sizing” of our stuff, but by the number of purses she’s donated, I suspect she’ll think there is now room for more.  In case you’re wondering, it takes a stash of cash to purchase a Stash purse, but the General is clearly addicted. I haven’t mentioned a twelve-step program to help with that, but I haven’t ruled it out.


While I was working on my sermon last night, the General came into my office to simply say of herself: “I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff.  With the exception of two coats and a few old sermon notes, I don’t think you’ve done much”. I don’t remember the exact verbiage she used after that, but it clearly carried the veiled threat that: “You either fix it, or I’ll take care of it.”


My General is in a league all of her own, but other than to me, she doesn’t have a range of influence or following.  Out of curiosity, I initiated a Google search to find a quote or two from the highly respected and legendary General James Mattis, the newly appointed Secretary of Defense. He reportedly once said:


The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some “#&%@#” (actual word omitted) in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.


He is also quoted as saying: “We’ve backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute. I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”


Trust me, when my General said: “You either fix it, or I’ll take care of it,” I had the sense that she means business. In a lot of respects, my General has the same mindset as General Mattis. She doesn’t deal with many shades of gray.  Do I think she’d really toss my stuff?  I doubt it, but I don’t want to take the risk.  I’ll play the game.


Actually, I played the game for a portion of yesterday afternoon.  “Baby steps” – Don’t forget that I’m taking baby steps.  I looked through a few very old sermon notes.  Some of them dated back forty-eight years.  Why I’ve kept them is beyond me.  For the most part, with the exception of kindling for firewood, they don’t have a lot of value.  For one thing, most of them are handwritten.  Either my handwriting has always been awful or my vision is currently poor. I couldn’t read many of the notes that I looked through yesterday. The notes that I couldn’t read were the first to be tossed. 


Of course, earlier in the week, when the General made the suggestion that I get rid of old sermon notes she expressed it very differently.  She said, “Your theology has changed.  You don’t need those notes”.  She was wrong.  My theology hasn’t changed. God’s Word holds true and that is the basis for theology.  Some of my bias’s, easy answers, judgmental opinions and human error on my part related to interpretation of Scripture has changed, but my theology has not changed.


I guess the short way to express it is that I had a lot more answers forty-eight years ago than I have today.  However, the answers I have today are better answers and they are not answers that have come from me.


All My Best!



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