Testimonies tend to be a little dramatic. Sad and dissatisfied. GOD ENCOUNTER! Contentment *angels singing*. But sadly and unexcitingly, my story on God and work-life is not like that. God, as he has always been, is very very gentle. So my story comes in many small bite-size pieces.
My work is part of my vocation.
When I was 17, I remember feeling like I was talking to the wall when I prayed. So I prayed for faith. Not just to be able to somehow believe in what I was doing, but to be ‘crazzzy faithful’, as if my life depended on it! Slowly but surely, it grew in about 7 years, and now it is with this same faith I make my work choices, my life choices.
Despite coming from a family of jet setters (or quite literally pilots), I chose a degree, and a job that paid me much less than I would otherwise be comfortable with. (I think we can safely say I won’t get married to some rich businessman either) We are, “paid in passion” I would say, as I went out to look for a job. I picked it because I thought I’ll hate it the least, the best of the worst kind of decision.
Faith crept into my work life with every small decision I made. “Hola, I will GO to Espanol for a month! Take many days of leave and go on a ‘holiday'”. My colleagues seemed mostly amused when I explained that I was going to Spain for a nice monthlong romantic getaway with my boyfriend… and a priest… and some Spanish friends.. one of which was a priest-to-be. It did make for interesting conversations though.
At the end of the day, it always came back to communication (strangely enough). It started in my relationships, when I felt like every single problem with family, with friends, with boyfriend, had to do with communication. I could have avoided that scolding if I told them there was stuff on the this weekend. I would be able to understand your angst if we talked about what you were dealing with. And somehow, My job as a graphic designer became part of that vision to improve communication in life, in church.
A lot of times I see people bored in mass, or clueless in church weddings, and felt like people needed to understand the small intricacies of this celebration every sunday. Even after countless daily masses, nobody ever told me, until I decided to read a book at 24. So I grabbed a few people in community and embarked on a project that stemmed from a need to communicate a little better in the church, in the language of today, facebook and instagram. And it’s been truly a blessing to receive such support from community. (PLUG: https://www.facebook.com/massinfographic)
I now refer to that little intro bit in the sunday missal today:
I know it doesn’t sound too glamourous, but it reminds me of the verse from Luke 9:25 ‘For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’, infamously the verse that bothered St Ignatius to the point of conversion.
My point is that when you have a general vision of how you want to build God’s kingdom, work-life gets a lot easier, a lot less angsty because you would know it’s all for a purpose.
When you have to damage control a terrible colleague who you get so irritated with, it’s that same compassion when you reach out to a struggling community member. When you have to stay back late cause no one else is going to, it’s that patience in praying as intercessory while everyone is in a session. When we share on the bible every week, it trains us on how to evangelize and talk about what truly matters to you at the workplace. Community keeps me rooted in God, reminding me that work is more than work, it is part of a vocation.
I was talking to Janice recently and we discussed how God and community in particular prepare us for work, and how work also prepares us for God. And I realized the one thing it’s training us all in, is love.
And as uttered by my favourite Saint, Therese of lisieux: