July 2005

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This month, I am marking two anniversaries which are significant in my faith journey (following the 20th anniversary of profession last month). Dave and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on July 5, and I have spent 25 years at Bell Labs (under various managements, starting with the Bell System) as of July 14. I’m guessing it may be more obvious why marriage would be important to my faith journey than my work, but let me explain both.

First, the impact of marriage on my faith life. The first nonobvious consequence (which many of you already know) is that my husband was the agent of the Holy Spirit in getting me to the door of the Catholic Church – even though when we got married he was not attending church himself! By feeling the need himself to attend Mass at Christmas when surrounded by my Methodist family – and demanding that I go with him! – Dave started the process that resulted in my being received into the Catholic Church just a few months later, in April 1982. (We had our marriage blessed at the same time, so I often say we’ve been married twice…) The Holy Spirit wasn’t just satisfied with me – Dave has been a regular churchgoer ever since.

That was the “big event” but just as with profession, it was only the start. I don’t know how we would have survived some of the challenges of the last 25 years without our faith to sustain us! I also look at the changes in our lives and how neither of us would have guessed we’d be where we are today, 25 years ago, and I just have to say, “Thank you, Lord!”

Now, on to my work life and how it intersects with my faith life. Certainly, the place where I’ve spent 8+ hours a day, five days a week for the last 25 years has to figure prominently in my life. In the course of spiritual direction and reflection on how I am being called, I was a little surprised to realize that my being at Bell Labs – in spite of many obstacles and quite a few “last minute” decisions – had some of the same feeling of “I’m meant to be there” as my call to the Church and to the SFO! Not only that, but it gets a little eerie when I’m asked to do something that “stretches” me at work…and, shortly, get asked to do something similar for the Order. Coincidence? I think not… I do believe that God works with us according to our personalities, and God knows that subtlety would be lost on me…so he makes it VERY clear. Now I’m struggling a little to accept that one of the gifts I bring to the SFO is precisely my professional abilities in computers. I may not really want to live and breathe computers 24x7 (and I don’t), but when I think about it, it seems silly that God wouldn’t take advantage of the skills I’ve spent a lifetime at work developing, anyplace they are needed.

As I reflect on these major milestones in my life, I am grateful that God has been so kind to me. As a person who tends to want to get from point A to point B as directly as possible, God provided me with the answers to some of the most basic questions (where do I belong in family, in work, in church) before I was 25! The advanced versions of the answers are still unfolding, and that’s fine with me now – I think I’ve learned a little about being open to what may happen next over the years. So, I offer my prayer in the words of Dag Hammasjkold:

“For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes.”

Amen! Vickie