The two gentlemen stood at the counter near my desk. The foyer was quiet, cool even serene with polished marble floors, damask-covered couches and several tall vases filled with fresh flowers. The wall of tinted glass welcomed floods of light without adding heat into the are; while the tall potted palms gently swayed, moved by the overhead fans.
I stood and greeted them noticing they were holding hands. ďGood day gentlemen, how can I help you?Ē I knew what they wanted, an apartment in the West Hills Plaza that had an unwritten but firm policy, against renting to homosexuals. The owner Mr. Blair was adamant about this, regardless of the law against such blatant prejudice.
After pleasantries were exchanged I handed them applications, that they chose to complete, sitting in the foyer. Handing them back to me I explained there was quite a waiting list, smiled and wished them a good day.
I stood gazing out at the lovely foyer, so calm, so cool, and so inviting. The view was one of the perks of my job, but was the cost too high, having to enforce Mr. Blairís questionable policies?
Like many other moments of my life at that time, I didnít spend long pondering the possibilities or truth. I quickly pulled down the shutters over the reception counter, getting ready to catch the cab, pulled up out front. I was headed to the airport for a weekend with my friend Ken, in Victoria, B.C.
My deskís outlook and my lifeís outlook though seemingly lovely, masked layers of ugliness rooted in sin, selfishness and rebellion.
Twenty years later, my desk looked out over the rolling hills of the West Midlands in England. My office was located upstairs, in my third bedroom; it was small but charming.
Gone were the polished marble floors, brocade couches and tall vases of flowers. Now however, I enjoyed a refreshing peace as I sat at the computer preparing a sermon.
I didnít miss all the glories of an opulent work place. Though the small vase of roses on my desk were no match for the flowers of the West Hills Plaza, yet the presence of my Lord filled the room with beauty beyond measure.
I spent precious times with him at this desk as I looked at the villages and towns from my office window. Often I prayed for the houses I could see and the nation I could imagine from this perspective. I had left the rebellious receptionist behind. I began walking in obedience and restoration through repentance; finding myself living and serving God in England. I entered the country as a missionary now I was ministering as a preacher and teacher. The outlook spanned continents, not only in space, but in spiritual perspective.
Ten years from that amazing time finds another desk, another outlook. Now, today as I write this article I look out over green fields, inhabited by cows with their calves. The sky is blue with cotton wool clouds, the sun casting light and shadows on trees, small hills and a distant farmhouse. No longer England but Latvia, a gateway on the Baltic Sea. Gone are the cassocks and stoles of preaching; the carefully chosen outfits of teaching. Gone also, is the ability to communicate to most people of this land who speak, Latvian, Russian or perhaps German. Did God make a mistake, or did my English husband and I not hear him, correctly?
Sometimes amid the sheep, goats, turkeys, aging farm equipment, no flush toilets and extreme weather, I do wonder. Then after breakfast, we go up the path to our own prayer chapel for devotions. Listening to the bird song, seeing the meadow flowers, smelling the Latvian lilacs and in those quiet moments of prayer, after scripture reading, I know this is right for us, at this time. The God of all this beauty and peace is generously sharing his outlook with us in ways we would have never imagined. We live the gospel before our neighbors and language isnít necessary, yet.
We live in a land long oppressed by other nations and now oppressed by world economics. A people that stood up to the great power of Soviet Russia and now wonder, if those times were better. We believe we are here to bring an outlook of hope. Godís words to us in England were: Go, Wait, Listen and Encourage. In obeying we are gaining Godís outlook.
Note: Names have been changed.
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