One of the small pleasures of my job has nothing really to do with the job itself.
There is an organization in our building, on the floor above us. That organization, while directing their attention at health services and programs such as healthy weight loss and quitting smoking, has a distinct Christian foundation.
I know that because every other day starting at about 10:00am I hear the distinctly and endearingly familiar sound of a piano joined by a chorus of voices belting out none other than some of the finest and firmest traditional hymns.
Sometimes I can make out the words they are singing; many times it’s just the melodies that carry down through the roof above me. Either way I find myself humming along, with the words running through my mind.
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.
Christ, the blessed One, gives to all
Wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call,
Wonderful words of life;
All so freely given,
Wooing us to heaven.
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.
The reminiscent properties of those all those dear old hymns are high for me – they bring a good feeling just because they remind me of so much and so many good times. Times where I could fully take part in the chorus, surrounded by people singing from the depths of their heart: people I knew and cared for deeply.
But even aside from that, hearing those familiar melodies and the words they bring to mind is such a breath of fresh air and truly an encouragement to my heart. To be reminded of such truths in the middle of a work-day that often feels tedious and even purposeless and so far from what I would like to be doing or the people I would like to be with is a blessing.
And even an answer to prayer – as I just realized. I’ve struggled with having a good attitude about work. Don’t get me wrong, I really do have a good job and the people I work with are a good bunch. But like any job there are ups and downs and there is a frustrating bureaucracy. I can enjoy what I do but it’s hard to feel fulfilled doing the same thing over and over again and fighting the same losing battles over and over again. And I miss and, honestly, sometimes feel lost without the connection of spirit I know I can have with someone even if in every other area we are completely different. Every connection I find with someone feels so trivial when it seems like the relationships around me thrive only on gossip (which I usually miss out on anyway) and commonalities such as the drink they’ll share after work or the broken relationships they pursue so headlong and carelessly (and I’m sure a lot of that is generalities and doesn’t characterize everyone here.)
I know there is definitely still places I can and should find purpose and fulfillment in my job here – there really is room to serve people and even minister to them as I am serving them. But I let it get to me instead. I get discouraged and disgruntled and think only of the lack of connection and the lack of purpose instead of the connections I should be developing and the purpose I should be pursuing. Because – those are harder. It’s easier to be disgruntled, as miserable as it is getting to the point where I dread going to work and work just to be able to go home.
What have I become if I’m living like that?
And so I asked for prayer in that area. And then I realized that – in a truly absurd way – God has provided me the daily reminders of the purpose and encouragement I should have and the change of attitude I need to have.
I mean, seriously, who else gets to listen to live hymns during a secular work day?