Thursday, December 16, 2010

Work as Prayer

Late yesterday I had a visitor at the bookstore who I had not sat and talked to probably since we were about 10 years old. A neighborhood friend, he stood and introduced himself to my husband and then blurted, "You know your wife and I should really be in jail. As kids, we hid in the ditch and threw rocks at cars." Of course my husband just shook his head. I had completely erased that from my memory. I guess the ridiculous things we really do not want our children or anyone else to know just seem to hide way back in nowhere land. We talked for an hour and a half, I believe. What a joy! He was telling me about interviews he had done for the Nashville Cursillo newsletter and I shared thoughts about prayer and family and work and my writing. He was genuinely interested in my spiritual life and a couple of times caught me off guard with an "Explain!" or a "Finish that thought!" or a simple "Tell!". He had much more energy than I did at 4:30 in the afternoon after running up and down the stairs at the bookstore for 7 hours. I did explain that my mind was much clearer at 5am than 5pm. However, one comment he did drag out of me that was worth sharing was about my "prayer form". When I mentioned my morning routine, my writing, my meditations, he jumped, "Is that your prayer form?" And suddenly the words spilled out, "Well, even my work here is a form of prayer for me. People come to the store, especially during this season and during these difficult economic times, not just to shop, but to share their story, their journey. I feel that the time I take with each person, the choices they may or may not make, the stories, are all part of my journey too. They are gift. They are my form of prayer." It has made me think this morning about the encounters I have with others in their workplace. Maybe I would be a little more respectful of their jobs and the work they do for me if I found them in the midst of a form of prayer in their work.
As we journey through this Advent Season and encounter others in their workplace, may we all share a little of our own gift. Maybe the gift of a smile or some laughter or a story or just a kind word could be shared as we work together in prayer. I know I was given a little of that yesterday afternoon, okay a lot of laughter, and I am grateful. May we be blessed in our chance meetings and may we in turn be a blessing.


  1. "It is I who was blessed yesterday," said 'the old neighborhood guy!' May I add- in the spirit of Holiday thanks for all He has given to us this year- that we especially remember the kind-hearted and remarkable people He puts in our path- to love and serve and cherish them just as He does each one of us! Merry Christmas, Julie!

  2. I love those posts that just write themselves, as I believe this one was for you. What a beautiful reminder (for me) that Christ is everywhere, especially in the people we meet everyday, even if it is the same face we see at work Mon.-Fri. A lot of times that is the real challenge, to appreciate that same person day in and day out... Sorry, your great post got me rambling... ...k