Thursday, May 03, 2007

Philip's legacy

I don’t want a Porsche.

Really, I don’t.

I saw one crossing in front of me as I took a turn over the north Beverly railroad tracks – that cumbersome intersection of Dodge Row and Route 1-A North where, if you hit it wrong, you can sit for 4 ½ minutes (I’ve timed it) waiting for the red-and-white wooden crossing guards to lift even though the southbound train is not even in the station and you are sitting south of the station, like it’s nowhere near the station and then you sit while it sits and you sit and you sit…and you can’t even sing along to that awesome Dierks Bentley song on the radio because the person next to you is figuring out what to do with their time, too, and you would feel like a fool singing like Dierks and trying to hit those high notes and your neck screaming veins popping out while your driver-neighbor is basically seeing you have a seizure in silence behind two panes of tempered glass – those railroad tracks… and I saw this maroon Porsche with a black whale’s tail and, in fact, it did look like a large mammal, albeit a really fast large mammal. And I thought: I am pleased as punch with my silver Toyota Corolla that gets like 200 miles to the gallon – city – and that fits my 5’9” frame just fine, thank you.

I suppose this realization was all the more surprising because I had just come from my occasional joust with All Things Financial. I am talking about the Thursday morning 7:30 a.m. breakfast in downtown Boston with business folks, about 50 or so, down at the club where all the old-money from Boston congregates. I can’t name the club here or I’m sure to get sued by someone for some reason some day. But it’s the kind of club that has a Resident Cat to keep away the mice. It makes the place seem very OldWorldly. And you sit downstairs and pretend to read the Globe while you sip your coffee from a china cup, but really you are only interested in the sensory feeling of reading the newspaper while sipping mild coffee in a club where there’s a Cat and where the halls have been trodden by the likes of Paul Revere’s personal financial advisor. Because you know he made a killing from that famous phrase, “The British are coming…!” and trademarked it and now his estate makes $4.95 each time someone says it. (I am kidding, of course, but I have had a LOT of caffeine this morning, starting at 4:00 a.m. when I got out of bed wired that I had finally sent off my manuscript for printing and couldn’t sleep anymore.)

I realize that I have had only two paragraph breaks in the last 457 words (nifty tool, this Microsoft Word).

So I’ll give you all a breather.

I sat on the fifth floor of this Club, eating breakfast with 49 other men – it’s an all-men’s breakfast and Bible study. I introduced to the group a friend of mine who was in town visiting and I happened to mention his former association with the federal government and how he managed a multi-hundred-million dollar program, and this made me feel somewhat…important. I’ll admit it. By association, mind you.

I was like, Hey, this friend of mine made multi-million dollar federal grants to non-profits, and I make sure that my water bill is paid each six months to the Town of H____ for $110 a pop and I think I done good.

So there we are, on the fifth floor, looking out over the Boston Common, absolute beautiful New England spring day, the Red Sox are creaming the Yankees in the standings so much that the Bronx is staging a Day of Mourning (again, just kidding; again, way too much caffeine here), we have been sitting and standing and chatting and sipping and watching the Cat and thinking about Paul Revere’s finances (or at least I have) and my priest is doing the devotional this morning, out of the Book of Acts, chapter 8, and it talks about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. (Those of you not familiar with this passage probably are wondering why this sounds so incredibly odd – I’m telling you, it’s a fascinating story of Philip meeting this leader, in fact a principal financial leader, of Queen Candace’s kingdom in Ethiopia – the eunuchs were often put in charge because they were trustworthy around queens – and how hundreds of years before that Queen Sheba had visited Solomon and how it is thought that she brought Judaism back to Ethiopia… perhaps that doesn’t trigger your pistol, but I think that sweep of human history type of story is awesome. Or, it could be the caffeine.)

Paragraph break.

We had a wonderful Bible study and as I drove back to the North Shore where I work, I sang unimpeded to Dierks Bentley’s CD “Long Trip Alone,” which grows on you and once it does you realize there’s not a weak song on it. Then I picked up yet more caffeine – since I still need to make it through my work day – and saw that Porsche with a whale’s tail.

And all that exposure to money and cats in clubs and unparalleled views of the Common and eating quiche with silver forks next to guys who run federal programs and still others who manage billions for Boston’s elite somehow didn’t impact me when I saw that Porsche. In reflecting, I thought more about Philip.

And I thought about that eunuch. He got baptized that day by Philip. And his life changed. And he went back to Queen Candace with a new message of new hope.

And today, I know a man who lives in Addis Ababa who studied at the school I raise money for and he left behind his wife and two children for two years to get a masters degree – the Ethiopian government wouldn’t let his wife leave the country because she was a medical doctor and they couldn’t do without her – and he came here totally sacrificially and studied and got his degree and now he leads a Bible college.

All because Philip baptized a eunuch two thousand years ago.

A Porsche doesn’t go any faster over railroad tracks than does my Corolla.

photo: ncrotty

1 comment:

endangered coffee said...

I also have a Corolla and have waited at those same tracks, my friend...

Kind of sounds like a metaphor for something, but it's really just a coincidence. You in H_ and me next door in BF, there just aren't a lot of old Corollas around.