When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.
- 1 Kings 12:21-24
Thinking of the Scripture, it seems that if there were prophets saying not to attack, no one listened.
Many years ago, I was working at my desk, minding my own business and the company president came by. He handed me a flash drive. He said, “Nick made some changes, so when you get to Orlando tomorrow morning, make sure the person doing the audio/visual gets the changes. Oh, and you are presenting at the convention instead of Nick. So, you might want to review the presentation yourself. Review the presentation after you call the travel agent for a last-minute ticket and hopefully they can give you Nick’s room at the hotel.” They could not give me the room that Nick had reserved. I agreed to stay in a room that was under repair, the only available room left.
I wanted to tell the company president that tomorrow was my wedding anniversary and could someone else go? Over the next few years after that, I attended three other conventions, as a presenter with less than 24 hours to prepare each time, mostly preparing while on the airplane or in the car for the two trips to Washington, DC. It would have been wonderful if that vote of confidence had ever turned into an increase in pay.
The next day, I took a predawn flight to Orlando, Florida, home of Mickey Mouse. My plan was to never leave the airport since the convention was at the airport hotel. Someone that worked with my boss immediately roped me into a sales call at the Disney marketing area of Walt Disney World. About midnight that night, I was having fish and chips at an English Pub in Buena Vista, Florida. If that can possibly make sense.
So, with practically no sleep and only seeing the presentation slides once, I sat on the front row at the convention next to two presenters that would proceed my talk. I am sure they had practiced their talks many times before coming to Orlando.
This is where the title ties in, in case you were wondering.
Both of the other presenters had their doctorates. Both had grown up and were educated behind the Iron Curtain. I can only remember a little bit from the first presenter, none of his technical information. He was either from Hungary or Bulgaria. His accent was so thick that I hardly understood anything that he said, but he talked about the caster operation in a steel mill, how to properly cool molten steel and make it suitable for rolling. I could converse on any topic of a steel mill except for his area. It is a shame that he stayed at a doctorate level and did not truly explain anything.
Instead of allowing the moderator of our block of presentations to introduce the next speaker, the first speaker introduced the second as a fellow comrade from the former Soviet Union. He gave his full name, but then he turned to the person that he called “friend” and said, “Evgeni, the floor is yours.”
The next presenter arose. He stood behind the lectern. He said in a thick accent, but with a friendly lilt to it, “I have been introduce as Evgeni. If I Russian, my name: Evgeni.” He paused to stand more erect with his chest out. “I am Ukraine. My name: Eugene. GET IT RIGHT!!!”
I suddenly realized that when we had the panel discussion later that day so that we could answer questions from the conventioneers, I would have to sit between these two. They definitely did not like each other.
I learned a lot from Eugene. He explained things in simple terms. He talked on rolling mill operations for hot rolling steel coils. My talk was on the furnace between the caster and the rolling mill, but I have no idea why I was last among the three of us.
But the way Eugene presented his topic, it had a bit of humor in every example. He explained how to avoid wavy edges in the steel product. He started by saying, “When you have lasagna, wavy edges is nice. When you sell coil with wavy edges to maker of refrigerator door, they send it back to you and demand their money back.” A true statement told so that everyone understood and was motivated to listen. I love that style and I had always tried to emulate it.
When I see the news of the war, I think and pray for all the people in Ukraine, whether their name is Eugene or not.
I miss Eugene. I never knew Evgeni.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.