Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waiting for Layoffs and Praying Together at Work

I called my father this morning to wish him a Happy Birthday. He turned 82 today. During our conversation he mentioned my brother, who is raising three young children with his wife, was waiting for an 11 o'clock meeting at work to find out if he was going to be laid off. My brother has been with the same employer for 25 years, and in his current position for four.

I kept him in my thoughts all day, praying that somehow he would survive this latest round of layoffs. On my drive home, I was sending up some serious prayer. I reached R. on the phone about 5 p.m. He was babysitting his year-old nephew. (The dad hadn't finished his work shift and the mom had to start hers early; the little guy was screaming in the phone as we were talking. R. was both soothing him and trying to tell me about his day.) I could also hear two of his own children in the background. His oldest was at soccer practice.
By the grace of God, my brother survived this latest round of layoffs. He told me his team was so nervous about losing their jobs, three of them, including him, began packing their offices. After they did that, his co-workers asked him to lead them in prayer. "Me?" he asked them. Yes, they told him. My brother, like me, is a practicing Catholic. He is a low-key, gentle man who doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve. He works in Corporate America in the metro D.C. area. - hardly a bastion of prayer and faith. 

But lead them in prayer he did. I imagine the group, many of them Baptists, huddled in a corner, listening to my brother's words, praying quietly together as they awaited news of their fate. I don't know what he said to them in prayer but I was moved by the idea that these men and women thought to turn to the Almighty at a moment of great worry.

We all know family members, friends and coworkers who are out of work and enduring economic hardship. I pray that all of us - those of us with jobs and those of us seeking work - might live day by day, turning to our Lord in humility as these men and women did, with worry and with gratitude.

Christ tells us:
I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?
Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single cubit to your span of life?
And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin;
yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these.
Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith?

On a day such as this, I like to imagine Christ as a Presence kind of like Sidney Poitier in "Lilies of the Field." Watch him at work!  

1 comment:

  1. What a great story. The power of prayer is so amazing!