Sunday, September 4, 2016

Reflections in Reception - Day one

Well, here I am Lord
Waiting in Reception
The Reception of the firm which owes me R21 000
R21660 to be exact
Although that includes Value Added Tax
This amount has been owing since
The 28th of May
It is now the 25th of September.
I have made repeated requests for payment
Without concrete response.
These are the facts.
And now the man who holds the purse strings
Declines to talk to me.
His P. A. who is very sweet,
Declares always that he is in a meeting.
“I will give him a message.” She says
But he never returns my calls.
-has not communicated with me
For several weeks.
He has had his own cash flow challenges I daresay but,
I have information from a most reliable source
That he has recently received a substantial sum,
So things are not nearly so tight for him now.

Lord! Things are extremely tight for me:
Only just enough money for fuel
To drive to this firm
In whose Reception I sit.
I’m not the type who breaks kneecaps Lord:
Never yet sent out so much as a lawyer’s letter
In all my years in business,
-Rather let myself be defrauded.
Foolishness perhaps.

But I have wages to pay
In just three day’s time,
And not a penny in the till.
If I am concerned to see my workers paid,
How much more will you show Yourself faithful
In paying your servants,
For you are my paymaster:
And how faithful you have been,
Down through the ages
Down through the generations.
Why this very morning I enjoyed
A hearty breakfast,
In comfortable surroundings,
More than comfortable:
In beautiful surroundings.

Still, this may be the last meal I have for a while,
For I have determined on a hunger strike:
A sit in hunger strike,
Here in the Reception
Of the firm that owes me R21 000.
They do not know this yet,
Because the sweet P. A.
Is herself in a meeting.
But when she emerges I will ask her
To convey a message to this effect
To her C. E. O.

Ah, she has just come through,
I have told her my intention,
Though not the fasting bit.
She is going to speak to her boss,
So we will have to wait and see.

I have not a great deal on my plate at the moment,
So this waiting
Is a good opportunity
To write and reflect
Here in Reception.

Each twenty-four hours is a gift from you Lord.
You are entitled to see it filled
With activity or inactivity,
Activity or rest.
So thank you for this time of waiting,
Waiting on You
Waiting in You
Here in Reception
So good to be talking with You
Even though You know my innermost thoughts
Before I utter them
Or commit them to paper.

Well, I’ve just had an audience with the main man,
Not a very likeable man I’m afraid,
Trying to find any excuse for not paying.
Still, I put my case as plainly and firmly as I could
And now I am asked to wait
Back here in Reception.

The receptionist has offered me coffee
Which I have accepted.
After all it is a hunger strike
Which we have in mind.
It is brought by Lindiwe
With the characteristic respect
Of a young Zulu girl for an older person.

Just had another audience with the chief.
He has unilaterally decided
To re-write the contract,
Take it or leave it.
I decline to take it.
He has undertaken to have security
Throw me out.
Until they do,
Here I am,
Back in Reception.

Keep reminding me Lord
That we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
But against principalities and powers,
That the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
Teach me Your ways,
Your strategy for handling bullies,
Not to be cowed by them,
But neither to respond in kind.
Speech ‘gracious yet seasoned with salt.’
For man has an intrinsic worth and dignity,
Even when he is behaving badly.
Though distorted by sin,
We are yet your workmanship,
Created by You,
Redeemed by You,
If only we allow your redeeming work
To correct the distortion.

Well, I’ve been invited to the office
Of the company’s resident attorney.
A very nice lady.
(All the ladies in this firm are charming)
She is tasked with mediation.
I have offered a reduction of R3000 on the price,
Which she is sure will not be acceptable,
So here I am,
Back in Reception.

On reflection,
I have asked to see her again
With another variation in the firm’s favour.
Still no deal.
She says I will be thrown out,
Against her wishes I think,
But she doesn’t make the calls,
So once again,
I’m here in Reception

Back from the toilet,
I have just been brought
Another cup of coffee
By Lindiwe.
The company abounds in charming ladies.

Above all
I want to be a good witness Lord
I want your name to be honoured.
How can your name be honoured?
If I do not pay my workers and my creditors.
A labourer is worthy of his hire.
I don’t have to remind you of this,
It’s in your Word.
That applies to those who work for me,
But also to me who works for you.
No, that’s not right:
I do not work for you,
I do your work,
Kingdom work,
The privileged work
Of a privileged son of the King
Here waiting in reception.

Just waiting now-
Arrived around 9. 30 am
It’s now 1. 15 pm
Just waiting.

The attorney,
A slim, statuesque lady of around 24 years of age
Has just come to Reception
With a written contract variation.
The gap has closed but we’re not quite there.
She says, “If I go to him with your terms I’ll be thrown out.”
“So then we’ll both be sitting on the pavement,” says I,
“I can think of worse things.”
She gives a smile but says she’ll just drive home.
I confess that I’m not sure I have enough fuel to drive home.
She returns to her office,
Seemingly a little put out.

Alone in reception again,
Save for the receptionist,
The top of whose head
Is just visible above the counter:
Yet another sweet young lady.
Seemingly an inexhaustible supply.
I glimpse others down the corridor.
I can’t help wondering
If this makes the company’s overhead structure,
A bit top heavy.

No business of mine really,
Just wondering.

The attorney walks past me
With a large box file under her arm.
We bid each other a courteous farewell
As she exits the building.
She really has done her best.

It’s 2. 30 now
Waiting in Reception
Feeling a mite sleepy,
But not hungry yet
The C.E.O. walks past me with a chuckle,
(or is it a snigger?)
And exits the building.
He doesn’t realize I am in the service of the King,
The one who holds all authority
In Heaven and Earth.

Ten past three now.
Many people are praying for this situation,
Especially my Beloved on the far side of the globe.
3. 45 and the C.E.O. has just returned,
Walking past me without comment.

Four o clock and here comes J…
He is a wonderfully good man.
So much more than the ‘good cop’ in this situation,
For he must tread a fine line,
Maintaining his loyalty
While retaining his integrity,
And this he does wonderfully well.
He is much to be commended.
He calls me into an office
Where we discuss matters coolly and objectively.
It seems that the chief is a bit nonplussed
As to how to deal with someone simply waiting...
Waiting in Reception…
Waiting for payment.
Perhaps to give an old man the bum’s rush
After taking his money,
Might be more embarrassing for him than for me.
He is more at home with litigation and legal battles,
And generally contrives to win these,
According to J…
So J… and I talk,
And I undertake to produce a document
Which both clarifies and commits,
And return therewith tomorrow.

…….To be Continued

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