A few days ago, two of our agency interns began their day-long tour of my division by visiting my office. I explained to them our division does and what I do, and as I usually do, mentioned that they are welcome to pop in and chat whenever they’d like. Sometimes interns will take that opportunity and sometimes they won’t, but I think that day was the first time one came to talk to me mere hours after the invitation. More surprising was the question she had for me – not a “What can I do to get a job in your field?” or “How did you get your start in the agency?” Instead, it was this:
“Do you like Totoro?”
The young lady has seen the Totoro magnet I use to mark myself in or out on our staff attendance board and was wondering if I picked it because it was cute or because STUDIO GHIBLIIII. I explained to her that yes, it was because STUDIO GHIBLIIII, and we gushed for a few minutes about our favorite films from the company (we both like Whisper of the Heart, while she added Kiki’s and I mentioned Princess Mononoke as favorites). It was a fun little interlude in our work day.
My anime geekiness is something that outside of home and social media, I normally keep to myself. But as it’s become a bigger and bigger part of my life these last few years, I can’t really contain it. Visitors to my house see my DVD’s and figures; I bring anime up in conversation with people I sometimes just met; and at work, my identifier is Totoro. When something means so much to you, it’s hard to keep it compartmentalized and away from the rest of your life.
Faith is the same way. If my religion is indeed the most important thing in my life, I can’t keep it separate from me during work or wherever else inappropriate. My faith isn’t part of my life; it is my life.
When I was younger, this concerned me because I felt the tension between, “How do I boldly show I’m a Christian in the workplace” and “You’re not supposed to talk faith in the workplace.” And to be frank, I didn’t want to be that weird guy. I now realize I was ashamed and embarrassed by my faith. As I’ve grown over the years, I realize that 1) I still have a loooong way to go, but also 2) I am being Christian in the workplace when I am myself. The tension is barely there anymore, because I’m resolved to seek Christ is any and every venue.
At work, I will do my best to be a man of character, I will love my co-workers and employees, I will sacrifice for others, I will be an employer that cares about those that report to him, I will make myself secondary in a world that teaches us we must make much of ourselves, and yes, I will talk about my faith when it comes up. They will know what I am by who I am. And as I live a life where my faith is me, I will avoid putting a lampshade over my light 94% of the time, lifting it up for the opportune 6%; I’m instead a lamp that is never covered by a shade, so that I give “light to all who are in the house.” Or office.