Some would draw a solid line between professionalism and religious perspective -- between business and spiritual responsibility. But the day comes, for every true believer, when one's business profession must take a back seat to that driving profession of faith. Especially when that conviction is . . .
A matter of life and death
by David F. Calderon II
as told to Diane Dew
As an assistant superintendent in a large government construction project, I was in charge of about 40 men. As usual, construction trades bring all kinds of people from all walks of life. At the construction sites, all men mesh together. I guess that's part of what they call male bonding. Or maybe that's how men get along, by going along, even if that's not who they really are.
There's a lot of politics even in the trades. A sort of code between these men. Almost daily there are complaints, even brawls. I was in the middle of most of them, trying to smooth things out and keep things on schedule. Not very easy for a Christian. The daily grind of dealing with these men's problems would quickly tap out my strength and my faith. Soon I was worn out and weak and was no better than they were. I would catch myself swearing and fighting. I would be threatened daily and talked about behind my back. It was very hard to use discernment about who I could trust. My expectations were put to the test daily and I was let down daily, too.
One particular day, at the end of a project, I was exhausted, and very busy tidying things up for a close. It was hot and miserable. And tensions were hot.
As I was doing role call, a man hung around and waited for me to finish. He was one of my lead men in a crew that did heavy work at the site. Today, he looked worried. He was smoking and pacing back and forth and seemed very serious. He was angry, too; he was profane and a little on the violent side. I was used to this. So I braced myself for another one of those days. But this time it was different. He said he wanted my opinion on something.
He began to tell me how he loved his girlfriend, Debbie. "But she is 42," he said, "And I am worried for her health."
I laughed and said, "Darryl, that's how old I am. Why are you worried?"
"Because she is pregnant," he said, "and I want to end it for her sake. She could die or something. I love her a lot, and I am giving her the decision. But I want her to get an abortion, because I'm worried about her health. We are too old to take care of a baby; we will be old folk by the time the baby is in high school. Plus, she could die. So I think she should just get rid of it."
Then he became silent. He stared into my eyes with a look of violence. I looked right back at him and said calmly, "I know what you're asking me. You're asking me to agree with you. I know that's what you want to hear. But I'm going to tell you the truth of the matter. Your asking me to agree with the murder of your baby, your little boy or little girl. It's a baby. And you're talking premeditated murder.
You must not kill you child. You will regret it. Debbie will hear her child everyday, and she will think differently about you. Because she will resent your making her feel guilty about the decision.. You will be a murderer in her eyes. And she will not forgive herself for allowing you to convince her to kill her baby.
Darryl flew into a rage. I thought I was dead. He began yelling, "I knew you were going to say that! You're right! I did not want to hear that! I'm going to do it anyways!" And he stormed out of the room.
Friday came, and I was extremely busy. I got the workers going in the morning and Darryl came by and said, I'm leaving early this morning. I asked him, where are you going? "To see the doctor," he replied. Without thinking, I said "Okay, see you Monday." And I went back to my work.
Later that day I was picking up supplies at a nearby city and it hit me that Darryl was going to the clinic. I had no way of knowing how to communicate with him so I could stop him. All weekend I prayed and I was restless. I felt sad that I had not really caught what he last said to me that day.
Monday, he stayed behind after all the other trades headed off to their work areas. He asked to see me.
"I have to tell you something," he said.
"Darryl!" I interrupted - "I tried to stop you and get a hold of you!"
He began to tell me how they had gone to the clinic, but something really strange occurred. "Dave, something was talking to me and called my name. I went to check to see if it was Debbie in the other room. She said it wasn't her. So I went back to the waiting room. When it happened again, I rushed into the room where Debbie was waiting for the doctor. I said, Debbie, come out. We have to talk.' We went outside and I told her, Something was talking to me inside the waiting room. Let's get out of here! I'm going to be a Pappa!"
Darryl thanked me for being bold, for telling him what he didn't want to hear but needed to hear. "Thanks to you and whatever was talking to me in that waiting room, I'm going to be a pappa. And I want you to know that."
I wept when Darryl told me that. I was blown away that I had played a small part in that decision. I explained to him that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to him that day.
Throughout the duration of that entire project, I had often asked God, Why am I here? Is there a purpose in my being in this place? I learned that we just need to use discernment, in our everyday lives. The opportunities are there; we just need to make ourselves available for His use. I could have easily missed my opportunity to witness and help save someone.
©1998 David F. Calderon II
Other articles by David F. Calderon II:
'What a cheap way to go!'
Snowstorm in the High Sierras
'O Death, Where is thy sting?'
Related articles at this site
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INDEX of Other Articles & Bible Studies
Who Funds Planned Parenthood
Why should we care what they do with their
"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
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