Address to University of Kentucky Summer Series on Aging, Lexington, KY by Dianne Timmering

What does it feel like to reach into an audience and uncover the veneer of existence? To challenge the way we have always done things—to peel the bonds off against the noise of time. So much hunger for God I see in the world. A hunger for Him, but a fear to find Him, to seek Him, especially in the workplace where the perception and the stale air of misunderstanding keeps Him away.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it clear that an employer must provide an “accommodation” for “all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate . . .

Even with this explicit opportunity to know God in the workplace, is it a general fear of being vulnerable? We are after all the individualist American, strong and in charge. Has God morphed into our box of convenience? We pray at night and in the morning and often forget about the day because we don’t want to bother Him or we don’t think He’s listening and the framework of our world that we have built around ourselves is our rudimentary path. And we think of Him in the distance even while He is whispering into our hearts; not considering He can seep through the walls of concrete and skin in any moment, near any time.

So we, the audience and I, explored this at the recent UK Summer Series on Aging in Lexington, KY discussing spiritual freedom in the workplace for employees and the long term and post-acute residents that we served. While we were there to discuss spiritual integration in aging care, questions began to emerge. How could they do it in their organization, company, place of work for its impact on employee well-being, and for the beloved peoples whom they served? We discussed

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framework, how to build it and spirituality defined. We considered the confluence of the spiritual being with the moment to moment pursuits of the job; that one didn’t need to be separated from the other.

We talked freedom, because that was what spirituality could be—the freedom to choose to worship, or not. Spirituality they decided was the choice for God or the Divine and their own personal relationship with such. And the opening of possibility crinkled brows, their eyes many colors of wants and stolen thoughts and hopes packed into the corners of souls. Bringing spirituality into their workplace, for their people, for their customer, for themselves—was it possible under the precepts of government, as well as the tenets of unconditional love and the sanctity of respect for another?

And God pressed His thumb-pad into the brow of belief and hope tickled and ears breathed.

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