Dream: Threeway Trash Thrash


I am in China working for Caltech
Like I did in the early 1990s
[at the Beijing Electron Positron Collider that built the first Internet link there]

I think I am still a student
But it feels like modern times

We are working in some major industrial plant
Or perhaps a city
Maybe even a Muniversity [hypothetical Learning City]

I was sent there to help our professor
Who oversees their sanitation systems

He has done some amazing work
He added, like, a second trash dropoff line
Inside an existing building
Nearly doubling throughput
At virtually no cost

But he hasn’t been communicating
The top brass is worried
It may be time to pull him back

He never wanted this job
But now he seems to be clinging to power
It doesn’t make any sense

So I really have three assignments:

  1. On the surface, I am there to help him
  2. My bosses primarily just want to know what the heck is going on
  3. And I am wondering if I should replace him

He has been avoiding me for days
Finally I manage to corner him
On his way to the cafeteria

Another person seems to have had the same Idea
A Chinese woman
Probably a local
Her bosses probably have similar concerns
I wonder if she has the same triple assignment

We buttonhole the professor
Pleading with him to let us help him

He’s unfailingly polite
But strangely evasive

I finally realize
He is at war with himself

At one level
He is surprised to discover
He loves this job
The chance to make a concrete difference
The power and authority
Living abroad, free from distractions

At another level
He hates himself for getting sucked in
He is supposed to be a science professor
Not a sanitation executive
He is neglecting his research
And graduate students
Not to mention his family!

Yet he somehow got addicted to this crap job
During what was supposed to be
A short term assignment
Of just a few months

I finally ask him point blank
“Don’t you want to get back to your research?”

We are in the enormous cafeteria now
He is so flustered
He throws scalding hot coffee
All over me

It is probably an accident
But he and I both know
It doesn’t look good

I could easily spin it
As him physically assaulting me
And have him called back

I don’t want to do that
I just want to understand
What the heck is going on
What he truly wants
How I can help

He finally
Does too

Please pray for me
Our tiny little church
is going through a massive transition
The risks and opportunity
are great

God seems to be opening
long-closed doors
for me to speak into leadership

The spiritual warfare is intense
So pray carefully
Thank you

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