The first time I met my boss was during my interview; he had his head resting on his hands the entire time. He was exhausted, and there was no denying it. When you’re in politics, and a mercy gift to boot, it’s highly likely that you’re doing some people pleasing–and that was definitely the case with my boss. A compassionate man, he is always willing to listen and give people his time. Everyone who calls our office claims to be “a good friend” of his, and he knows more people than I ever will. (But like a true mercy, he has very few who are actually close to him.) He has told me many times that he needs a great deal of time to process, and he is married to a prophet woman who does a great job of giving him many of the things he needs. More than just compassionate, my boss is caring and has grown into his mercy gift at age 61. He has something that the other two in the trio do not yet have: maturity. And beyond that, he has what my coworker lacks: acceptance of his gift.
The involvement with my boss on my end has simply been that I have gotten to be led by a mature mercy male for the first time in a long time. It has been less about what I am doing to be involved and more about what I am learning through my relationship with him. I have worked under former mercy male leaders, and it has been disastrous in some areas. It is helpful that my current boss and his wife are devout Christians; that his wife has a solid identity and therefore does not feel intimidated by me or challenged by my involvement in his professional life; and that I myself am more grounded in my own identity in Christ. It is wonderful to genuinely care for my boss and see his gifts displayed in such a public way, with such maturity. He is incredibly good at asking for help in the areas where he does not have great control, like boundaries with his time. He is not only well liked, he is well respected by folks in all walks of life and is one of the humblest men I know. Working with him daily reminds me of how much I want a Jesus-loving, humble, grounded-in-his-identity, mercy male husband of my own.
My boss represents something in a mercy male relationship that I have not experienced in a long time: safety. This is a stunning revelation to me, even as I write it. Last week, as I was thinking about this blog, I actually said to myself that I did not know what the importance of this relationship was–but now it’s very clear to me. Listen, I know relationships, people, even LIFE ITSELF is not safe. Nor did Jesus call us to a safe life. But I know that I have been avoiding mercy males–or at least keeping a safe distance–because of how many times I’ve been hurt by them. And while I am aware that Jesus assured us we would have a life full of troubles (John 16:33), I am also aware that we are to guard our hearts, because all of life springs forth from it (Proverbs 4:23). I am enjoying the safety of my relationship with this mature mercy male because we all need safe people in our lives. He does not flirt or lead me on intentionally or unintentionally; he does not use me to get his touch needs fulfilled; I don’t feel guarded around him because he is mature enough to set his own boundaries. That means I don’t have to guard my heart, because he helps in that area. So instead of feeling stressed and worried around him, I am enjoying a kinship with a mercy male, and our dynamic flows exactly the way God intended it to. We joke, we laugh, we share, and we naturally work well together but not in any kind of inappropriate or unhealthy way. In fact, he just got back from a week-long trip, and the first thing he did when he saw me was give me a hug. I did not feel used, I did not feel weird–I just enjoyed the cool, safe relationship I have with a mercy male.
There’s something to be said for feeling safe in a relationship. And while I know my ultimate safety comes from spending time in the arms of my Savior, it is nice to know that I can also find safety in a relationship with a mercy male who has no agenda except to care for those he leads. And that has been remarkably healing for this pushy prophet girl.