Faith At Work III

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“How do you finish a three-part series on an amazing book without giving away how the book ends?”

–  Steve Heston, dopey blogger, staring blankly at a computer screen for a couple of hours…

“Faith does not magically change our circumstances and make everything happy; it merely bends the light to show us what’s really there.  It’s the prism we need to see hope when all seems lost, to survive the furnace of suffering, to grow despite the pain.”

–  W. Lee Warren, MD in the epilogue of “I’ve Seen The End of You; A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt and The Things We Think We Know”

I called a member of my extended family last night.  He’s a career HR executive — and a danged fine one.  He’s also a loyal subscriber to the Daily Difference and he is inspirational to me in the steadfastness of his Faith.  “I’ve always wrestled with this Faith at Work thing,” he said.  Turns out as an HR executive and a fiduciary of companies, counsel advises against talking about Faith all willy-nilly at work.  Whodda thunkit?

I also researched a long-forgotten concept Warren calls out in the book:  Hobson’s Choice.  It’s defined as a “free choice where only one thing is offered.  Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it or taking nothing. In other words, one may “take it or leave it”.

After staring at the screen (literally — I had to look like I was a mannequin or something!) I realized that Cuzzin’s point and Hobson’s choice gave me the path I needed to connect the dots.

It’s not about Faith at work.  It’s just about Faith.

When all seems lost, when the furnace of suffering is cranked up, and when the pain is seemingly unbearable, we can either choose to get through it or succumb to it.  As Warren calls out in the book a number of times, succumbing is usually grotesque and horrific and it tends to affect those who love the one who chooses nothing most more than it does those who choose it.

There are some days that work absolutely sucks.  There are some days when something outside of work absolutely sucks.  We can either get through, or we can opt-out — choose nothing; essentially freeze, die a little, or shut down.  Faith is what gets us through.

There are some days that being a spouse sucks.  That being a parent, sibling, friend, or just a person — sucks.  There are some days that it’s easy to wonder why we even bothered to get up.  Faith is — or at least can be…no, make that SHOULD be the reason.

Why Even Think About Faith At Work?  Because Someone is Watching

Someone who works with us is watching today, to see what we’ll do when the deal goes bad.  Someone who works for us is watching today, to see what we’ll do when the verdict comes in on the wrong side of the case.  Someone who buys from or sells to us is watching today. Someone we don’t even realize is watching is, in fact, watching; to see what we will do next.  Even when we don’t know what we will do next.

Warren’s central question addresses the collision between what we believe and what we know.  So, what do we believe and why do we believe it?  In order to really live in that belief, it will serve us well to divorce ourselves somewhat from what we “know.”

There’s a great recurring line in the book about what we can see being the only thing that’s real.  (Evidently, that’s valuable training in Surgeon School…)  But here’s the deal — in Warren’s words:  “If you have to lay eyes on everything to believe it or put your finger in the holes of it like doubting Thomas, you won’t know what to believe when it’s too far away to see or touch.”

Epilogue

(I just used the word “epilogue” twice in one post.  That’s what staring at a screen for two hours does to your rational mind, evidently, but I’m going somewhere with this.)

Good Friday is a week away.  For 17 years, Good Friday DD’s have led with this quote from St. Thomas Aquinas:  “To one who has Faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without Faith, no explanation is possible.”  

As you read this post, on this topic, it occurs to me that either no explanation is necessary for you, or that none is possible.

In either case, I hope you’ll read the book.  And I hope you’ll let me know whether it made a difference for you, whether at work or wherever else it might resonate.

 


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