Church on Sunday can feel worlds away from our day-to-day lives. We asked Christians to tell us how their lives connect with their faith for our Whatever You Do collection of stories and prayer requests.
LYN Gooch is a solicitor working for Lightfoots LLP in Thame and a Licensed Lay Minister serving in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.
I hesitated before writing about being a Christian in my workplace because lawyers don’t get much positive press and are not shown in a very good light in the Bible.
About 15 years ago, I had had enough of property transactions and decided to switch to specialising in preparing wills and dealing with the estates of people who had died. I have never been a conventional lawyer, falling into law by chance having started my working life as a secretary. Looking back, I can see that my desire to help people was part of God’s plan to call me into lay ministry and for that ministry to be among my colleagues and clients who I work with every day.
Following the birth of my daughter in 1996, I became heavily involved in church life, serving on the PCC, editing the newsletter, running a bookstall, leading the organising committees for fundraising events, leading intercessions, leading Lent and Advent groups and Quiet days and preaching. Through all that I felt that I did not quite belong in the conventional parish setting and that God was calling me to something more.
This led me to become a Spiritual Director and through that I realised that the ‘something more’ was something I was doing already; ministry in my workplace. Part of my day job is listening to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one or grieving for their life as they face a terminal illness. They may be overwhelmed by sadness; loneliness; anger and all sorts of other feelings. There may have been harsh words spoken that cannot now be unsaid or apologies rendered. Sibling jealousy which has been kept under control while the parent was alive can be unleashed with vehemence.
Some people cope by being so busy that they don’t have time to think about their loss. Others are weighed down by inertia, best described as wading through treacle. My paid role is to help them through the legal complexities, but my pastoral role, which is God centred, is to walk this journey with them for a while. My role is to explain things patiently; to listen to what is being said and what is not being said. At times it is a gentle touch on the hand and waiting for them to say something hugely important and healing. God always lets me know when it is appropriate to talk about faith or lack of it.
Alongside this is the time I spend listening to colleagues, from everyday chat to the profound worries and difficult life experiences that I am privileged to hear about. Sometimes I can help with practical advice but often it is simply being there, offering a shoulder to cry on and a prayer for someone in need. I do enjoy my work and recognise that I am privileged to be able to be alongside people at a vulnerable time. Although it can be emotionally draining, particularly when there is family conflict, I am often amazed at the coincidences that bring people into my professional life at seemingly just the right time. I have learnt God is always on hand and it can be very rewarding to know that a faltering faith has been given new life, through a brief conversation at the end of a business meeting.
Please pray for:-
- the bereaved, and especially those who are finding life lonely and disorientating, that they may find new friendships and a new way of living
- those seeking to put their affairs in order as they near the end of their life; that they may be at peace
- anyone facing an illness of uncertain outcome within their family; that they may be supported and comforted whilst offering strength and support themselve
- all lawyers who dedicate themselves to doing the best for their clients in all areas of law; that they find support and positive ways to relax and release the emotional burdens they carry every day
See @1CorTen31 for daily prayer points on Twitter.