30 Apr You Will Hear a Voice
I have always enjoyed working from home, especially since it became the new norm and everyone is just a quick Zoom call away. And for me, this means that on most days, the distance between my “home” and “office” is just seventy brisk steps out of my room and down the stairs in my warmly-stockinged feet and easy clothes.
So this particular morning, I’ve checked into my “office” and I’m at my desk getting ready for one of my tasks for the day. I have a Zoom call in a few minutes with a gentleman who is vying for MP in one of the larger constituencies in Nairobi. He recently asked me to be part of his team. He’s a first-time aspirant and is hoping to win the seat by bagging a nomination from the most popular party in his constituency. A workable strategy, I should think. I would really like to help this brother, but with all that I’m doing in this arena, I know that I will not be able to participate in his campaign due to time constraints. But because he’s a brother-in-Christ, I’m willing to help any other way I can.
I set up my laptop for the call, and as I wait, I begin to think through my next appointment – an afternoon coffee at a nearby café, with yet another brother who’s contemplating running for high office. I’ve not met him personally – he reached out to me after a close relative mentioned my work to him. All I know is that he was a hugely popular entertainer in the 90s and early 2000s, and that he is now running for political office – as in, the highest office in the land. His chances of success may not be too high at this time, I think, but I’m curious and would like to meet and hear him out. It’s not lost on me that the current president of Ukraine, the valiant and hugely inspiring Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky, won the presidency by dint of his highly successful work in television. So let’s not rule a brother out.
A glance at the clock tells me that it’s a few minutes to 11am, and I realize I don’t have too much time between this call and our Zelensky, who I’m scheduled to meet at 2.30pm. I will have to manage the call studiously, so that I will have enough time to grab a quick lunch, get dressed and drive to the meeting in good time. And still take my daughter to a doctor’s appointment at 4pm.
But then, I’m thinking, What on earth shall I wear?! I’m not overly keen on office wear, ever since COVID disabused us of that stifling formality, but I still have to find something that will work for Zelensky’s meeting and yet be simple enough for the doctor’s appointment. Hmm.. a bit of a tall order this one.
Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I hate shopping. I hate it. In fact, over the years, most of my wardrobe has been purchased almost forcibly by my long-suffering hubby. I just don’t have the shopping gene – you know, that one that makes you all soft and gooey inside and results in an extensive wardrobe. I’m more of a books person. Consequently, I don’t have much in way of outfits that can satisfy the aforementioned terms of engagement.
I turn my attention back to Zoom. There are still a few minutes before we are due to start, and I contemplate what my response to the aspiring MP should be. But as I wait, my mind drifts back to my dilemma.
Just outside my office window is the clothes-line where our helper hangs the wet laundry. And an item fluttering quietly in the wind soon catches my eye. It’s a beautiful, semi-formal dress, purple in color, recently purchased for me by hubby, together with a number of other fashion items, when my ageing wardrobe threatened to utterly destroy his rep. It has a cinched waist and flared skirt, and I figure if I pair it with a slim belt, dark jacket and high heels, it will work. I wore it a few days ago but if it’s dry, we’re on.
My MP candidate soon checks in and we begin the meeting. I listen diligently as he shares his political journey and his deep desire to uplift the lives of his constituents. From what I gather, he has spent a good part of his career in community work and I can tell that he genuinely cares for the rights of the people. This is precisely the type of leader we need in this country, I think. I explain to him that I may not be able to help his campaign on the ground, but will be happy to be part of his advisory team, particularly if we will be able to hold most meetings virtually. I ask him to add me to his WhatsApp group and we end the call with a commitment to work together. A quick google search after the call confirms the details he shared concerning his work, and I’m glad that I’ll have the opportunity to participate in his political journey. I just love my job 🙂
But my next appointment looms. I step outside, walk to the laundry line and quickly examine my one and only hope. It is still wet though, and I seriously doubt if two hours in the sun will be enough to do the needful. But a quiet instruction soon reaches my ear:
“Take it to the rooftop,” I hear.
I know what this means. Atop the roof of our home is a large, empty space which we hope to transform into a captivating roof garden, sometime soonest. We moved into this home just recently and there are still a few loose ends to tie, including this soon-to-be rooftop paradise. Meantime, it gets blazing hot up there, and I know that hanging the outfit in the simmering heat will soon solve my problem.
But wait. I have a number of fundis outside, bang-banging their construction tools all around the compound. What will they think of the Madam hanging her frock on the roof, I fret.
So I do the next best thing. I call our helper, hand her the outfit and direct her to hang it for me, as per the instructions I have received. Then I set about preparing for the meeting. But more than an hour later, when I’m about to begin getting dressed, the lass delivers the frock to me still a little wet at the hem. Surprised, I ask her if she hung it where I asked her to, but she confesses that she didn’t. Instead she placed it inside the house, atop the staircase that leads to Paradise. It was close enough, she thought.
Distressed, I consider what else I might wear at this late hour but soon come to the conclusion that I will be late. Besides, a little damp never hurt anyone. So I put on the wet hem, grab my purse and head hurriedly out the door. Where I run headfirst into your disapproving frown. But you and I know you’ve done this yourself, brethren. Just say the truth and shame the devil.
I soon hear once again the quiet voice of my divine Counselor:
“When I instruct you to do something,” He says, “and you choose to delegate, be careful to follow up and confirm that My instructions have been carried out correctly.”
“Otherwise,” He explains, “you may fail entirely in the task that I have entrusted you with.”
Simple, yet so true. I store that well-earned bit of chastisement in my spirit and head to the café.
I’m quite looking forward to meeting this brother, our Zelensky. He’ll be wearing a blue shirt and white cap, he had mentioned, and I spot him at a table immediately I arrive. He rises politely to his feet as I approach, shakes my hand and welcomes me to take the seat directly opposite him. And as soon as he pulls of his mask, I recognize him – he is that massively popular and well-loved comedian who graced our TV screens, almost on a weekly basis, for several years! He hasn’t changed much, I note, and is still youthful in his forties, like our heroic Ukranian leader. I’m quite pleased to meet him, and I’m irrevocably impressed when he courteously requests that we begin the meeting with a prayer.
The next hour speeds quickly by as we chat away like old friends. He is amiable and funny, and he shares openly his startlingly unusual life story – from his status as one of our nation’s favourite rib-ticklers while he was still in his twenties, to his subsequently effortless rise to the higher echelons of civil service, and now his deeply-held aspiration for political office. We discuss at length the massive challenges assailing our nation and the great need for leaders of proven integrity. He is very passionate about this, and quite determined to step up and prove himself a trustworthy and effective political leader. He will be on the presidential ballot come August this year, he assures me. But despite his confident demeanour, I sense that he’s under no illusion as to the amount of work that will be required to advance his political agenda. His huge name recognition will help, I think. It may not win him the presidency just yet, but it will certainly be of help. And I look forward to seeing him make his mark in political leadership.
Our meeting ends on an amicable note, and I gather my now convincingly dry hem and dash out, conscious that I have just a few minutes to catch my daughter’s medical appointment. It’s been quite a day.
Later, as I reflect on the day’s activities, I think about the numerous other men and women I have met, who are similarly passionate about our nation. Men and women who sense a strong call to a different kind of political leadership, and earnestly aspire to do their best to effect the change we so desperately need. And I sincerely hope that, if elected, they will remember to continuously seek the Voice of the One who has called them. And that once they hear, they will be diligent to carry out His will, exactly as He will lead.
And I have no doubt that, should they be faithful in this one thing, they will truly excel in the role that the Lord has entrusted them with.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”