Your Work as Your Ministry; Remembering Karen Fischer
Your Work as Your Ministry Remembering Karen Fischer
"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamation of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart." Philippians 1:3-4
I've never met a dental hygienist I didn't like. The odd thing about being in the chair with someone inside your mouth is it's hard to talk. I can get a garbled word or two out every now and then and a full sentence after rinsing. Years ago there was one who began a non-stop monologue that lasted for the entire cleaning. I appreciated how all her interesting stories took my mind off of the strange sounds and sensations inside my mouth. The one I have now is precise and highly competent.
But there is one dental hygienist I always wanted but was too afraid to ask, because I didn't want a member of my congregation putting her fingers in my mouth. Karen Fischer, a member of Saint Paul who died recently worked for almost 50 years in the same Lexington practice. She was famous for her gentleness. The teenager in braces on her first day of work would be retired by her last day. The work itself came pretty easy for her and I'm sure it got boring at times. What she loved the most were the people she cared for and the parade of co-workers over all the years. She became the one constant person in that practice and brought stability and dependability. Karen was also a terrific mother, raising three children, demonstrating great sensitivity to each of them at all their various stages of development. She stopped work at 76 to care for her dying husband whom she adored. She had a sense of calling in all her various jobs and found joy in all of them. Her manner and attitude made a difference in the lives of all those she touched.
Karen's life offers a beautiful reminder that every type of work can be a ministry. Anyone who deals with people can be a loving pastoral presence, even someone wearing a mask and sticking sharp things in your mouth. Think of all the people you encounter on a given day and the work they do to make your life good.
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day is a holiday from work that is meant to celebrate work, honoring contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our communities and country. Work can be good for the soul and I hope you see the work you do (paid and unpaid) as a form of ministry. May the work each of us do bless the lives of others.