My fingers slipped between the silver handle and the black plastic. Gently pulling, I opened the door and slid myself off the slippery, leather seat out onto the sidewalk. The chilly air blew down the back of my neck and sent shivers down my spine. Noticing the dark rain clouds over the bustling suburb, I hurried to the twelve-story building only a couple feet from me. My chauffeur drove away behind me. I glanced at the bold letters over the spinning door that read NBB before entering the carousel; I knew I was in the right place. Everything became quiet for a split second. I pushed the spinning roundabout with my weary arm to the opening of the lobby. Then, I felt a burst of warm air and stepped over the threshold. A gold chandelier hung suspended from high ceilings over marble tiling on which I stood. Needless to say, the lobby was exquisite. I stepped across the spacious entry way to an island jutting up in front of me. The same bold letters as those above the door protruded from the information desk. The receptionist appeared to be on a phone call. When I reached the counter, the blonde woman — who looked to be in her thirties — covered the microphone on her headset and held up her pointer finger.
“I’ll be with you in just a moment sir.” she whispered.
I nodded to show my patience. While I waited, I unzipped my bulky briefcase and grabbed my slick, black portfolio from the front pocket. I flipped through the pages of my itinerary until she finished her call.
“How may I serve you today?” the woman asked with a friendly gleam in her eye and warmth in her tone.
“Uh, yes…” I stuttered while franticly searching for the name of my contact. “I’m looking for Rachel Brown? I am supposed to have an interview with her today.”
My eyes directed their gaze off of the bright white sheet and onto the receptionist. Her response came quickly.
“Oh! You must be Mr. Hawkins.” she exclaimed in a cheerful voice. “Miss Brown told me to expect you. She has asked me to call her so she can show you around herself.”
Listening to her speak, I noticed her straight white teeth and beautiful brown eyes. She wore a smile at all times. I doubt frowning is an action she was capable of showing. Her joyful heart and helpful spirit proved evident through her countenance.
“I’ll give her a call and let her know you are here.” she finished.
“Great! I really appreciate it.” I responded.
I admired the grand lobby once more and found myself lost in all the details. The place
gave me a sense of insecurity; I feared breathing might dirty the pristine environment.
“All set, she’ll be down in just a second.” the lady said interrupting my thoughts. “Awesome.” I responded frankly.
“You’re welcome to take a seat on that bench to your left while you wait?” she suggested
using her hand to motion me in the right direction.
“Actually…I was hoping you could point me towards your restrooms?” I requested. “Certainly! They are down this hallway and to your right.” she declared while motioning,
this time in the other direction.
“Alright…thank you!” I exclaimed as a summary remark.
Surely this woman wouldn’t mind watching your briefcase while you’re in the bathroom.
I reasoned with myself.
“Would you mind keeping an eye on my bag?” I asked.
“No, not a problem.” she answered without any delay just as I had expected.
My tired arm hauled the briefcase over the counter and she took it from me.
The lobby’s grandeur showed itself consistent in the restroom. If nothing else, I knew this
company kept their bathrooms tidy. I tried my best to keep the water in the sink when I washed my hands. The warm water relaxed me, but then I glanced up and evaluated my reflection in the mirror. I immediately observed dark semi-circles under my eyes and attempted to wake myself up by splattering my face. When the weariness of my eyes clashed with the water, it stung; I struggled to open them.
Although vintage-looking and located at a great place in the lobby, the bench demonstrated a severe lack of comfort. Nevertheless, there I sat sifting through my portfolio after retrieving it from the receptionist. I finally came upon the section entitled, “Interview Questions” and started to read. “How do you feel most supported by your sisters in your various roles?” What kind of question is that!? I have no idea how to answer that! I shook my head in disgust. Irritated, my attention focused on a large window by the spinning door. I watched as tiny droplets raced to earth before hitting the sidewalk. A lifetime had passed since my alarm clock woke me up at five this morning in Lawrenceville, Georgia. My flight to O’Hare was delayed until seven-thirty. When I finally took off, no extra seats could be found; the flight was full, which meant no more sleep for me. The plane landed in Chicago at eight-thirty and a company car picked me up. I get it, more media coverage for my dad’s ministry. Through my jet-lag, I realize I’m only doing this for my father. You see, not too long ago, he met Mr. Brown and they hit it off. Now the two ministries work together in a mutual business relationship. Dad convinced me to come and I accepted the consequences. I returned to the portfolio.
You can do this! After all, it’s just an insignificant interview about your sisters. All you have to do is fabricate a message of goodwill toward the human condition. No big deal! I thought to myself.
“Are you excited for your interview tomorrow Kyle!?” Grace shouted.
She skipped around the table setting out silverware when I moseyed in.
“It’s gonna be so cool to see you on TV! Are you nervous? I would be. What are you
gonna say?” she continued in rapid fire mode.
I opened the cabinet and reached for a glass. She proceeded to annoy me with more
dribble. My head swirled with the problems of the day and to hear my youngest sister rambling on just made things worse. Finally, I lost it.
“Grace! I yelled, “Be quite! No one wants to hear a million questions you don’t wait for the answers to,” I scolded.
Preparation for dinner halted.
“Kyle! What was that about?” mom interjected from behind me.
“She doesn’t want to hear the answers; she just wants to hear herself talk!” I blurted,
missing the point.
“Now Kyle, that is no reason to treat your sister that way.” mom stated with more
patience than I expected.
“I’m sorry…it’s just, not a good day for me.” I started, “I’ve had no time to prepare for this dumb thing and I can’t seem to make any progress on this project at work! I don’t even want to do this interview thing.” I admitted after excusing my behavior.
Grace lowered her head. Her disappointment with my lack of motivation seemed to drain some of her energy. She slid the drawer out and laid the extra silverware down gently.
“Sorry.” Grace apologized in a quieter voice. I perceived a bit of defensive sarcasm in her tone but I didn’t care.
“It’s not like he would have anything good to say about you anyway.” Ann mumbled at a volume that could be clearly heard by our younger sister.
“Paahhh!” Grace exclaimed, “You’re to talk!”
Just then my father walked into the kitchen. Apart from glaring, my two sisters ceased their banter; dad’s presence demanded better and they knew the consequences. After my parents exchanged their greeting to one another, dad turned toward me.
“Hey! You ready for that trip tomorrow?” he asked with a friendly and firm tone.
“He said he doesn’t wanna go!” Grace interrupted.
“I’m sure Kyle is able to talk for himself, Grace.” he laughed and then turned back to me,
“Kyle, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to but I think you would be missing out on a pretty big opportunity. Think about it.” He encouraged.
My relationship with my father thrives. He seems to give the best counsel and truly understands me, better than I understand myself in many cases. Our bond is invaluable. I realized long ago that many of the blessings bestowed on me originated from his faithfulness and a legacy of pleasing the Lord; never have I taken that fact for granted. Many sons wish for the father given to me and for the connection we share. I thank God for such a gift. I seek my father’s approval and validation. He takes pride in me yet pushes me further, to my full potential. For years now, my father and I have worked side by side at a ministry he stewards called, All the King’s Men. Learning and growing, I sell resources to fathers who desperately want to impact their children’s spiritual journey but don’t know how. My dad perceived the need in our household and now we work together to offer guides to fathers across the nation who desire to be strong leaders in their families. Although, working alongside my dad requires a great amount of responsibility, one of my father’s greatest exhortations can be summarized in one word: reputation. My words and actions directly effect my character, my family and most importantly, my God. This daunting truth scares me into self-control and accountability. Anyhow, my dad met Mr. Brown at a convention and shared our product with him. Mr. Brown immediately caught the vision for family discipleship and signed on as a ministry partner. So when Mr. Brown’s daughter planned to host a special brother/sister TV episode and needed a prominent guest to interview, he called my dad. Seeing it as an opportunity to get the word out about All the King’s Men, my father signed me up.
For a while, I’ve dealt with the misconception that selling “dad resources” and having a great father-son relationship somehow equals close relationships with my siblings, too. Occasionally, some of the good seen by the public is forced; in reality, my relationship with my sisters could use some help. Let’s just say, my sisters and I used to be best of friends, but we are not anymore. Perhaps the issue requires time; maybe it’s a phase that will pass. Grace is still young. She has plenty of time to grow out of her frequent immaturity and annoying, obnoxious vitality. Unfortunately, the cunning words and backstabbing comebacks give Grace an edge that I fear is more long-lasting. I am constantly shocked by the rude, sarcastic remarks that brutally