She stepped into the office; so frustrated and upended that she was trembling. I could hear it in her voice – stringent even through my headset – seemingly angry, but the underpinnings of fear and desperation that you become attuned to only when you yourself have backed into a corner with no way out.
I’m not proud to say my first thought was, “no way – not mine – not taking this one.” She’d been in the day before. The same frustration compounded now by aggravation and aggression. I’d seen my co-worker tackle her problem and get nowhere. I wanted nothing to do with her. I immediately jumped back on the phone; making a call I didn’t want to make. Anything to not deal with this anxious woman who seemed like nothing short of storm tossed seas.
Then a reminder caught my eye. Something I’d created to right-side my perspective in moments just like this. A nudge to live in a manner worthy of the calling to which I have been called. To be patient. Gentle. To bear with one another. This small piece of paper sits on the corner of my third monitor. Right where I can never manage to miss it.
I had a flash of “really Lord? This?” As if I thought my calling had boundaries and exceptions. This one, not that one. When in this location, not that one. Not in the real world. Not in the face of one who could truly use a measure of grace. Three deep breaths and a trip to the copier later I made a decision.
This one was mine.
I’ve been reading back over one of my favourite series – the Hawk and the Dove (trust me, there will be more on this at a later date) – and one analogy stuck with me. A particularly despicable character faces a devastating loss and comes seeking shelter in the unlikeliest of places. The inhabitants are horrified at the thought of taking him in and stand ready to reject him out of hand. One of the members who knows the painful sting of rejection reminds them to focus on the Lord, not the man.
“There’s a storm – so what? What did Jesus do? He rebuked his friends who had so little faith, and he told the storm to be still. We are the friends. William carries the storm. Christ’s peace is adequate to address the situation.”As I approached her and took on the situation, all I focused on was peace, grace, and gentleness. I will in no way say that this was the easiest thing for me to do. I am not famous for my patience. I do not take kindly to anyone railing at me in anger – even if I know it’s not personal. I can, unfortunately, be easily annoyed by people who struggle with the basics of technology. But not today. Today, there was peace enough to address the situation, and it was not my own.
I’ve written here about my desire to lay my life out for the Lord. To be His hands and feet here on earth as I am called. Sometimes, I think I have loftier aspirations that the Lord does. It would seem so much easier to be the hands and feet of Christ in a third world country. Or while doing something to help the homeless. Or even in making a meal to support a sick friend. But in my job? While fixing a computer? Helping someone get to the point where they can view something online? What’s hands and feet about that?
And then I looked at my picture again. It simply says, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love ….” There is no distinction of where or when this happens. I am simply called to do this.
One day, the storm might be something overseas. I may have winds and terrible seas while helping the homeless; supporting those afflicted; or helping a sick friend. Today, the storm that needed Christ’s peace and my willingness to walk in a worthy manner was a woman frustrated beyond belief who needed my help and compassion. Not my responding frustration or snark.
I worked stubbornly to resolve her problem and got her up and running. I broke my own lines of personal space and hugged her on the way out.
I don’t write these things so you’ll think, “oh, you were so great.” I really wasn’t. I struggled and I resisted. I’m incredibly stubborn and determined to fix problems. But today, the one thing I did do right, was give in to God’s nudge to remember that my calling is wherever I might be at any given moment.
There are many storms about in our lives today. We can’t flip on the television, scroll through social media, or pick up a paper without seeing evidence of that. We can’t personally calm any of those storms. But we can look for opportunities in our day to day life that are in desperate need of God’s grace and miraculous calming. In the simple, untouted moments, we have the opportunity to give grace. With His help, we can calm the seas.
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