Meet Jared Axen, Los Angeles’ “singing” nurse whose voice began to catch the attention of his patients when he was putting together their daily medications.
He makes his daily tasks an act of love; even something as simple as changing his patients’ medication turns into a loving encounter with his neighbor.
One of Jared’s patients, Norma Laskoske, describes when Jared sings to her, “when he looks at you, you know he is singing to you… it just pierces my heart.” In that moment, a dreary hospital room is transformed into a place of peace and rest for Norma.
But the joy that Jared brings to others and that he himself finds in his job might seem like such a far off reality for most of us. Is it possible for us to experience the same joy as Jared in our jobs without changing our external situation? How do we orient ourselves towards others instead of towards the clock? How do we turn the workday into an act of love?
Here are four ideas to reflect upon and apply to our own lives that can help us to accomplish this.
1. Work as an opportunity to serve. “Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8). Sometimes it is unclear how God is calling us to serve and to love on a given day. Despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, we must have faith that God does not abandon us and does not rob us of the opportunity to love Him and love others in any moment of our lives. Jared’s example reminds us of the importance of doing small actions with great love.
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2. Be present. “Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence” (1 Kings 19:11-12). It is easy to let the checklist for the day sound louder than the silence. On a busy day, when I find myself rushing from one place to the next, I can feel my own anxiety and restlessness. At the end of a seemingly productive day I am left wondering what I even accomplished because I have not been present to any my daily tasks. Busyness should not get in the way of silence because it is in the silence that He waits for us.
3. Prayer. “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10). As many times as we have heard it, there truly is no cure for the restless human heart that suffices like prayer does. Quieting our interior and making ourselves aware of God in every circumstance allows us to look at our day of seemingly meaningless tasks and understand that there is never a moment when He is not loving us. Through prayer we become fully alive, and through becoming alive we are able to be present and joyful in our lives as they are.
4. Let Him love you. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21- 23). God’s love never ceases, but sometimes the way that God loves us does not match with the way in which we want Him to love us. We pray for a specific thing and when it is not delivered in the box we picked out with the ribbon to match we think that He has abandoned us. In my own life, I can become so focused on how He isn’t answering me that I put my head down and miss the even more beautiful box that He delivered right at my doorstep! We need to surrender, and let God love us in the way that He has planned. Find Him in the small moments of your day, where He waits for you patiently… loving you infinitely.
This video shows us heroic love in an everyday place. We are called to receive love in every moment and to give love in everyday places. The mutual joy that Jared and his patients’ experience is possible for all of us. If we allow God to sing His love song to us we will be able to sing it to others!