An important element to our work life is connecting with the Calling aspect of our work life. Often Calling is misunderstood as being only for spiritual related careers as a person is Called to be a minister or missionary. I view Calling as that which makes our work meaningful. The areas of our work that brings the inner satisfaction as we look back upon a workday knowing we made a difference. A website that I enjoy reading and listening to the podcasts concerning the topic of life/work calling is www.thehighcalling.org .
The website presents stories and articles about the importance of our work. We spend a significant portion of our lives doing this thing called work. From the stories on the website I have found a deeper appreciation in how to look at my work settings from a Callings angle. It helps in exploring new ways to create meaning in the workplace.
I want to share one of the stories presented on the website by Howard Butt Jr. about an elevator operator, Bruce Renfroe, in New York City. The links to the highcalling video and a more in-depth Guideposts article about the man can be found below after the reflection.
Mr. Renfroe was a cleaner in the Metro system and enjoyed his work but after a stroke he could not return to his work. He was then transferred to be an elevator operator. He shared how he found the job very boring and noticed people in the elevator never spoke. This made me think of my years of living in Chicago. Elevators were always a place where everyone just faced forward with stoic faces and never made a sound. Mr. Renfroe wondered if he could make a difference to these robotic group of emotionless people. He started off by making a joke one day and noticed a passenger laughed. He then put up a poster, and brought in a houseplant. Then he added a small radio playing jazz music and had his Bible on a small table. Those changes in the atmosphere of the elevator started the people talking and enjoying the short ride down to the metro train stop. Some mornings a rider would ask him to read a Bible verse to inspire their workday. Other days a jazz song would be requested. At that point he realized he was enjoying his job again. What started out as ways to perk up his riders’ day was a boost to bringing meaning to what started as a boring job for him. This story touched me as I remember some of the Chicago buildings that would have an elevator operator. It always made the ride better to have a cheerful worker in the elevator. It also shows how Calling can be added into any job.
The story made me think of my work and what aspects of it relate to calling. Where am I making a difference in the world and lives around me? The answer to that question is where we move beyond the mundane of everyday work and move higher up into the calling of our work. In the living more than OK life, work is an area where we need to see how we can spiral up to abundant life even in our job, not just marking time until Friday. I am amazed how the Guideposts article ends about Mr. Renfroe. “Some people say, ‘Thank God it’s Friday because they can’t wait to start their weekend.’ Bruce said, ‘Me? I say Thank God for Monday because that’s the day I go back to work.’”
Reflection: In what ways can you add a sense of calling into your work world? What would our work places be like if we had Mr. Renfroe’s attitude about Monday mornings?
http://www.hudsonsclass.com/Documents/Freshman/Renfroe.pdf article copied from Guideposts