Thursday, July 23, 2020

Leaving Henry's Building ...

"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" (Haggai 2:3)

The consensus of my friends is that I shouldn't be so sad that I'll never work in that glorious Ford Motor Company engineering laboratory building again. When I hired on in 1992, it was the EEE building, and though I didn't work there, multiple shifts of engineers worked there each day. My friend Harland, from Texas, had also moved to Michigan, and worked midnights there. He got me into the building once in the middle of the night, and showed me the pencil markings on the pillar where "H. Ford" had marked his height to compare it against the height of his peers.

Just kidding -- Henry Ford had no peers. But he did have his office in this exact building, on what is called "mahogany row" for its GORGEOUS mahogany-panelled conference rooms ... where, up until the COVID panic, I was allowed to attend engineering meetings. All that is gone. Or rather, it's there, for the time being. But I'll likely never place my hand on the handle where H. Ford's hand gripped to pull open the ridiculously heavy brass door.

To me, places are sacred. Worship spaces especially, which is one reason that Live Streamed church is not real church. But what we think of as "secular" spaces are holy in their own right. And the building I left today forever was among the holiest in Ford Motor Company history. It was later the POEE building (not the best-sounding acronym it ever had) and currently the FEL building. But it means something to me ... the brass, the mahogany, the marble, and the spirit of H. Ford resting about the place, urging me to do better and better work.

So amid all your appeals for me to "get over it" and your admonitions that "the world is changing" ... please leave me a little space to be sad about this. Something important is being lost.

No comments: