The Word Among Us

July 2015 Issue

From Saving Lives to Helping Souls

A workplace challenge led me in a new direction

By: Angela Miller*

From Saving Lives to Helping Souls: A workplace challenge led me in a new direction by Angela Miller*

It was my dream job. After twenty-five years as a health care professional, I had found a position that was more educational, rewarding, and enjoyable than any I had ever held before.

The work was challenging and fulfilling, with many opportunities to increase my medical knowledge and develop close relationships with my patients. The staff worked together in a spirit of sharing and cooperation. We built friendships, enjoyed occasional gatherings outside of work, and became like family.

It was all so perfect . . . until slowly, almost imperceptibly, something started to change.

Flirting with Danger. A senior colleague, a respected and influential leader of our team, began singling me out and complimenting my work. Pleased and flattered, I readily agreed when he asked for my help with special projects. I enjoyed working with him; we got along well, and I came to count him a friend as well as a professional associate.

Over time, however, our friendship took a dangerous turn. He was married, with children. He knew that I was happily married; he had even met my husband. Even so, signs emerged that he was romantically attracted to me. I was slow to recognize the change, but it gradually became unmistakable.

I was concerned about this development and discussed it with my husband. He told me that he had complete trust in my ability to handle it properly. That’s what I thought too. Health care professionals are generally good at fixing things, and I felt I had the coping skills to fix this relationship. But as things turned out, it only became more intense.

Now alarmed, I went with my husband to seek the advice of a professional counselor. After several sessions, he told us what I already knew in my heart: “This isn’t going to get better. Your only choice is to leave the job.”

My Holy Spirit Moment. That was hard for me to accept. I became angry and resentful at the prospect of leaving the position I loved and the friends I had made. I begged the Lord to just make the problem go away. I hadn’t caused it—why should I have to pay the price?

I had to admit, though, that I had enjoyed the compliments and the attention; they were one of the reasons why I looked forward to going in to work each day. And though I hadn’t said or done anything inappropriate, the situation had become spiritually and morally dangerous for me. Not only couldn’t I rely on myself to fix it—I couldn’t even remove myself from it. “I’m not strong enough,” I told the Lord. “I have to hand this over to you and let your will be done.”

Early one morning after that moment of surrender, before I had even gotten up, the Holy Spirit enabled me to make a firm decision. “This is the day I’m going to resign,” I told my husband. He agreed, and right there in bed, we talked it over calmly and clearly. Then, as I lay quietly, I heard a voice speak to me in the silence of my heart. Three times it said, “You can save more souls than you can lives.”

Amazed and puzzled, I got out of bed to get dressed for work. As I stood up, a burning fire went through me from my head to my toes. I felt enveloped in a kind of electricity, as if I were wearing a white gown shimmering with sparkles.

This time, I knew what was happening. The Holy Spirit was clothing me with power for what I had to do!

Saving Souls and Lives. That encounter with the Holy Spirit didn’t just help me resign; it changed me forever. Not that everything got easy—I was very sad for awhile after leaving my job. But I was also more aware of God’s love and more able to entrust my life and concerns to him. Eventually, he opened the way to new job opportunities, and I continued to work happily until retirement, still assisting people with their physical problems and helping to save lives.

As for the “saving souls” part of my message from God: after giving it some thought and prayer, I recognized it as a call to get more serious about evangelization. God has work for me to do! And while I am not a St. Peter or a St. Paul, I am a disciple of Jesus with a mission to tell others about him.

As I go through the day, I try to stay in touch with the Holy Spirit and look for opportunities to talk about the Lord. Sometimes, I have a chance to share my testimony of faith with people who don’t know him. I tell them what God has done for me and encourage them to discover what can happen if they rely on him and put him first in their lives. Sometimes, without being overbearing, I find ways to invite them to church. Not long ago, I encouraged a young couple up the street to have their baby baptized and to receive instruction in the faith. Now they are beginning to attend church regularly.

The Spirit also helps me reach out to fellow parishioners and other people who are practicing their faith but need support. Just the other day, before visiting a friend with throat cancer, I felt inspired to look up information on St. Blaise, the patron of people with throat ailments. I read his story to my friend, gave her some blessed candles, and prayed with her for his intercession. That was just the right approach for her—she was thrilled and encouraged.

Looking back, I can see how good God is. Not only did he give me the strength to do the right thing in my previous job, but he opened brand new doors for me that I would never have walked through before. I’m in a much better place today—all because I surrendered to him.

*Not the author’s real name. Do you have a story about how God has worked in your life? Send it to us at [email protected]