Born Again

Born Again

He acts on his beliefs

Diagnosed with cancer and facing immediate treatment that would be time consuming and produce noticeable physical changes, I notified my boss that I intended to continue working throughout the treatment. He expressed the company’s support and I began treatment. As my appearance changed it became public knowledge I was undergoing treatment for cancer. After some initial well-wishing by my colleagues, things settled down and it became business as usual.That is, except for one person, a born-again and devout Christian. John was a middle manager who, early in his career, played as hard in his personal life as he worked in his professional one. Eventually, after several divorces, legal problems and chronic alcoholism came close to destroying his life completely, John, as they say, got religion. Most people know someone—who, to one extent or the other—has become a believer. Some of these recent converts turn their lives around for the better while others simply talk a good game and attempt to impose their new religion on everyone in sight. In fact, the term “born again” has become almost one of derision.

John, on the other hand, did turn his life around. Granted, he was so far down in the gutter that he had to look up to see the bottom, but he could have easily stayed there and just quietly disappeared.

Instead, “something” or someone motivated him into a series of decisions that led to his being “born again.” He joined AA and while he experienced the same ups and downs as many others, he eventually stayed sober. He was influenced in particular by a devoutly religious supervisor in the company where we worked. For whatever combination of reasons, John “got religion” and he got it completely.

He did not make a big thing of it, but it was so obvious in his every action that his fellow workers did treat it with at least a degree of amusement.

As I mentioned earlier, I was taking cancer treatments and my physical appearance showed it. One day, John stopped by my office and asked if he could pray for me. I am not a religious person, but I liked John so I said yes and thanked him. Well, I had no idea he meant right then and there until he closed my door and pulled up a chair next to me. My window blinds were open giving everyone in the office a clear view. I was mildly embarrassed but bowed my head when John asked and allowed him to take my hands in his. He prayed fervently and out loud for maybe two minutes, at which point he stood up, thanked me and left. John stopped in regularly during my treatment and we prayed together. My office mates were sympathetic with my efforts to accommodate John’s prayer sessions, assuming I was simply “being nice.” In a way, I suppose I was.

However, I was also struck by the fact that for whatever reason, this man had managed to rescue himself—personally and professionally—from a situation that had doomed so many others.

Maybe it was God; I’m not religious and don’t have any idea.

However, John not only believed but he knew in his heart that it was God and that knowledge saved him. That was enough for him and became enough for me. I accepted John’s prayers without embarrassment and on some level believe they helped me as he intended.