From CAREER to CALLING
About 3500 times a day, Laura answers the phone saying: “Vitas Health Care, how may I direct your call?” One day, while stopping by her desk, I asked: “Do you ever get tired of repeating the same phrase thousands of times a day? “No, this is my job,” she replied.
Laura is not merely a switchboard operator behind closed doors somewhere at the back of the building. She is also the receptionist, the first person visitors see as they walk into the Broward County office of Vitas Health Care. She directs both telephone traffic and foot traffic into the office building of our hospice program. She greets everyone with her characteristic gentle smile. It is a hectic job that requires calm presence and it is so easy to get frazzled and frustrated on that job. Laura handles it gracefully.
I had always wondered how she manages such a high pressure job with such ease and grace. But there is never enough time to ask that question and get an answer because during a one minute conversation, she could be interrupted twenty times — literally — that is about 20 calls a minute, sometimes more.
My work is mostly in the field visiting patients in assisted living facilities. I go to the office only once a week for team meetings. Those days, I make it a point to visit with Laura for a few seconds, because as President George H.W. Bush once said, she is one of those “thousand points of light.” I stop by at her desk to re-ignite my spirit and to fan the faltering flame of my soul-candle and I am never disappointed.
During my last stop, she asked me: “Would you like a piece of bread?” It was an unusual question from a very busy receptionist; besides I didn’t spot any bread on her desk. I was intrigued and interested. She pointed to a little box on the side of her desk containing a stack of colored strips. I picked one and it read:
My grace is sufficient for you (2Cor: 12:9). My eyes welled up with tears. I needed that message that day to ground myself and feel fully confident in the protective arms of God.
Laura told me the story of a visitor to the office who had ovarian cancer. This visitor was obviously having a very hard time with that fatal diagnosis. Laura gave her a “piece of bread.” She took and read it. It happened to be from the gospel of John: “Let not your hearts be troubled, trust in me and trust in my Father.” The visitor left, but few months later she came back to thank Laura and to report that her cancer was in remission.
Laura is an amazing apostle of peace and grace. She is doing a very important job for the company, but she has turned that hum drum job into a ministry. Laura is a great example of how our attitude can make a huge difference in the world. She is a living proof that what matters is not what we do in our job, but what we do it with — our approach and attitude.
Laura is a living testament to the truth that the most insignificant and boring work can be turned into an opportunity for making a difference in the lives of others. Thank you Laura for your inspiring witness.
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Ponder and Practice
> If your Job feels like a Chore that is Aggravating, Rough, Exhausting, Empty, and Robotic, more than likely you are in a CAREER. On the other hand, if you feel it as Challenging, Affirming, Loving, Lively, Interesting and Nice, and it makes you Grateful, you have a CALLING.
> Take a few minutes to evaluate your current job and make a list of things you like about it and dislike about it.
> Think about five things you can do now to change your job from a mere CAREER to an exciting CALLING.