A yelling boss, but a calm prayer agenda

A few years after I graduated from college, a friend suggested I apply for a position at a local university and was willing to serve as a reference for me. So I applied and was hired. I was tremendously grateful and felt as if it was a lovely new start for me professionally. I was particularly excited about the opportunity to take graduate coursework at this university and felt very much as if the job was an answer to prayer. 

Not long after taking the position, I started to realize that my direct supervisor had an intensity about him; he could become quite agitated at times. Colleagues within my department would quietly make jokes about it, and many would tell me, “Good luck!” or say things like, “Wonder how long you’ll last?” It became common for people within the department to hear this man yelling orders at me throughout the day. 

Suddenly a job that had felt like an answer to prayer seemed more like an inescapable nightmare. 

It was important to stand my ground and do what I knew was right.

I began to pray about my employment, knowing that if this job was an answer to prayer, everything about the position had to line up with God’s plan of goodness. And certainly it was not right to accept that either this man or I could be affected by a sense of tyranny. I prayed and read many inspiring truths that I knew from my study of Christian Science, but I especially prayed with the premise that “clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 571). I also worked with another citation from Science and Health: “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action. … Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must ‘have her perfect work’ ” (p. 454).

I again reasoned that if this was my right place of employment, everything about it must necessarily express the harmony of God and any needed adjustments to the work environment would be made. But most of all, I sensed it was important to stand my ground and do what I knew was right and not fear the consequences. God would direct me and lead me to do whatever I needed, and I could hear that direction and respond appropriately.

Not too long afterward, I had my opportunity. While I was sitting in my office at work, my boss yelled angrily across the hall for me to come immediately into his office. I complied, but as I was standing in his office and his yelling continued, I turned around, walked out, and returned to my own desk. He followed me and, in exasperation, asked why I had walked away. I told him that I would gladly speak to him when he was feeling calmer. He walked away at that point.

That was the last time he ever raised his voice in anger at me. From that point forward, this man became a trusted and staunch advocate for me professionally. I worked full time in various capacities in that department for six years and simultaneously obtained my graduate degree during a portion of that time. When I told him I was going to get married and relocate to the East Coast, he wanted to offer my spouse a position at the university, so I’d be able to stay. 

I am to this day grateful for the spiritual truths that supported me throughout this time. God cares for us deeply and we are truly never alone.

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