Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve been trying my best to listen to each word, inflection, and ways employees are communicating. I’m convinced that it’s in these words and communion that something holy is happening. Yes, there is pain and loss. But there is also marks of God’s presence nearby. Just gotta look underneath the text, what some call the sacred subtext.
Every word and phrase someone shares is revealing the life material. It’s my work to listen and unpack it with them.
As a corporate chaplain, I’m thinking about the workplace context, the person’s context, and the God of context. All of these have an interplay. And we discover God’s presence and activity in the words, deeds, and life of an employee. So here are some of the words and phrases (they’re mixed for anonymity) some have used during the pandemic:
“I’m tired of waking up each day, not knowing what else is unknown”
“I wanted to quit…”
“Losing my job and getting it back showed me how much I really value work”
“Fear, stress, and anxiety are contagious like a virus. They’re just always buzzing in the air.”
“Lord, give us emotional/mental/spiritual distance from fear and anxiety. Give us six feet apart, masks, and hand sanitizer so that we won’t be infected with the fear of the unknown”
A couple lost both jobs and needs help to stay afloat.
“You’re always listening to us complain….how’s your family”
“When are things going back to normal?”
“I’ve been listening to this band…It gives me hope”
“Did you know about [insert latest conspiracy theory]…”
“Lord, hear our prayers”
“My kids are driving me crazy!”
“I’m getting to be closer to my kids. Never had this kind of time with them”