Monday, August 15, 2005

sent before

Nancy invites us in this week’s Sabbath Journal to reflect on the passage from Genesis 45:1-15 (the story of Joseph, revealing himself to his brothers and giving them his perspective on what has happened to him). Nancy asks: "From the Genesis passage: Who has been ‘sent before’ in your life?"

My ‘sent before’ person was Elsie. This was back in university days. After I’d completed three years of Bible school and one year of Arts at the University of Saskatchewan and still didn’t know what I wanted to be, I decided to take a year off to work. But I didn’t want to stay in familiar and humdrum Saskatoon. So I decided to try to get a job in Vancouver. I made arrangements to stay with the family where my brother was living, packed up my stuff and took the train west.

In due course I arrived and after a few days of settling in, I began to look for work. I remember the first day of job hunting. I took the bus on Fraser Street in South Vancouver all the way downtown, where I planned to leave some resumes at bank head offices. Not being familiar with the area and afraid that I’d go too far, I got off the bus at Main and Hastings. As I started down the street, I noticed derelicts lounging in doorways, hobos sleeping in Pigeon Park and no other women in sight. Yikes - spooky for a naive prairie girl who had never even seen a drunkard in her life! I clutched my bag and hurried through this part of town to the tall buildings which were my destination.

That first day of job hunting was repeated over the following days as I made the rounds, filling out applications at private offices, insurance companies – wherever there were openings. Nothing seemed to come of these efforts, though. No phone calls or requests for interviews. In fact, they even felt wrong to me.

Finally one day I decided to try the hospital. In the maze of the Vancouver General Hospital campus I found the personnel office, filled out an application and went home as usual. But this time was different. That very afternoon I got a phone call from a Mrs. Wolfe in Medical Records. Could I come for an interview.

The next morning, after quizzing me about my former summer jobs at Saskatoon City Hospital, she asked me about this Bible School on my resume, and did I know Elsie D.

Yes, I did. Elsie and I had indeed been classmates at the same school.

As it happened she had hired Elsie a few weeks earlier, was very happy with how she’d turned out and Mrs. Wolfe was herself a Christian. Without more ado, I was hired and started work as a medical records clerk on the afternoon shift the next day. I worked there full-time for a year, and weekends, Christmases and summers during the three years I took Education at UBC.

(Oh yes, and later, Elsie, another friend and I moved into a basement suite in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, about 5 minutes from the beach!)

Do you have a ‘sent before’ story? I'd love to hear it! If you like, post it in comments here, or in the comment section of Nancy’s Sabbath Journal.

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