Long ago and far away I worked in a really crazy office. The two women who ran the department were nuts -and I say that in the nicest possible way. They actually threw books at each other. Since my desk was between theirs I learned to duck when “Olga” began her wind-up. She had a good arm but her pitches were often low. Olga qualified as a United Nations translator, but when people she didn’t like required her services, she suddenly developed a thick accent and twenty word English vocabulary. She would hand me the phone and I got to pass the messages on. Yet Olga had power. She had been there forever, knew the dirt on everyone and wasn’t afraid to drag it up. She even made the company president cower.
“Lulu” was Olga’s assistant. She had the worst bouts of PMS I have ever witnessed. Most of the time she was sweet as the dickens because she was trying to get me on her side, but on those days she would barrel into the office like a category three, tossing books and papers in the air, crying and ranting about how she couldn’t possibly deal with the demands put on her, then storm out, leaving me to re-organize the disaster before Olga saw it.
I was their office clerk. This was one of my first jobs, and I needed it. I didn’t want to be a complainer. I wanted a good recommendation when I moved on — hopefully sooner than later. Finally someone who worked upstairs walked in during a screaming match between my two supervisors, felt compassion for me, and arranged for me to be “loaned” to another office.
Shortly after I moved to another department, Olga showed up in front of my desk, dropped a pile of work on it, glowered at me and said in her usual abrupt manner, “You do this today,” then stomped out.
What can I say? Olga scared me. I still wasn’t clear on who I worked for, so I stayed late to do it on top of my other work -with tears in my eyes.
The next day my new boss said, “Don’t listen to her. You have been officially transferred. She is not your boss –in fact, you no longer have clearance to do that work. You are not qualified to listen to her. You don’t work there anymore -and I will deal with Olga myself.” She grabbed the pile of work and took it out of the room. That was the last I saw of it.
Often when I am stressed and over-tired, I forget that I have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Sometimes I forget that I don’t need to listen to the old boss. I don’t need to do their work for them by being negative or critical. In fact, the Bible says I am not qualified to listen to that old voice.
I thought of Olga and Lulu today when I read this passage.
“I, I am he who comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
and you fear continually all the day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
he shall not die and go down to the pit,
neither shall his bread be lacking. (Isaiah 51:12-14)
I needed the Lord to remind me today that when the voices of doom and gloom and dismal forebodings plunk their pile of time-sucking requirements in front of me, I don’t have to listen to them. In fact, God says, “Who are you that you are afraid? You’re not qualified to be afraid.”
I am not qualified to listen to those voices. I don’t work there anymore.
I have a new boss, and He is good.