Upon starting a new job, my husband was invited to a multi-denomination work bible study. We met at our home once a week, had dinner, did the study and parted ways. I was expecting a study that lasted a few weeks before disbanding. Instead, we have spent hours upon hours with these coworkers and cultivated lifelong friendships - in fact, these very coworkers watched my toddler while I was in labor, 3 of the members of the group have lived with us for some period of time, and 2 of the members are even now roommates.
I have always prided myself in being deep in the Catholic circle. For the first time I have found myself in a very diverse friend group made up of these coworkers. What a beautiful thing! The friction of beliefs has made me delve into my faith in a new way. Our initially light conversations have blossomed into deep discourse. Founded on friendship and love, these discussions take on a more meaningful and loving tone than apologetics usually has had in my past experiences of discussing the faith with acquaintances or strangers.
We spend about a third of our lives at work, yet we often strive to separate our professional and social lives. We dread the work Christmas party because small talk is awkward (or we go and end up just talking about work). This fragmented lifestyle falls short of our lofty vocation as Catholic professionals. An integrated person invests time in and out of the office cultivating deep friendship with coworkers. You know why? Because Christians are called to transform their workplace (and every place) by loving the people in front of them. Often love includes correcting or mentoring, which is always received better when the person knows you speak in love because they know you as a friend.
So how do you practically cultivate relationships with coworkers? Get drinks after work, go to lunch together, organize an activity like a multi-denomination bible study or book club, invite a coworker (or a few) to your house for a home cooked meal and games.
People are made for communion, for friendship. To dismiss our coworkers as our “work life” and not merge the personal and professional life is to miss an opportunity to love and be loved, to evangelize and be evangelized.
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