The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Finding beauty in the middle of our imperfections
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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Nov. 14, 2012 12:01 a.m.

I was 8 or 9 when I first fell in love with my gray trunk. It was sitting among rows and rows of things at an estate auction, and even then it was scuffed up from traveling in the 1940s. Its leather straps were worn. Its insides smelled like the pages of old books. And I thought it was beautiful.
In the last 30 years it has crisscrossed the state of Oklahoma as I relocated for my first couple of jobs and even rode 1,200 miles to join me here in Rochester.
It has been in bedrooms, living rooms and dens, and its one of the few pieces of furniture that my brother-in-law has requested never to move again, even if I make him enchiladas. So, I took that into consideration when I decided that I was ready to part with it, ready to release it to a new home where people had more space and perhaps fewer children.
My husband took the old gray lady to the curb and drove off to pick up Chinese food. Almost immediately drivers started stopping to check her out and thats when I lost it.
I called my husband and with a shaky voice asked if hed consider lugging it back in for me. Without a single complaint, he promised to move it. Thats how much he loves me and how well he understands me.
One of his cousins is an artist who specializes in vintage pieces. She takes photographs of tired old dressers that have chipped paint, and through her lens they look romantic and peaceful. Antique sheet music turns into chic gift tags and a bowl of white buttons becomes a work of art.
I think God sees us in much the same way finding beauty, hope and tireless loyalty right in the middle of our imperfections.
I have always been drawn to older, worn pieces because they exude character, history and romance that newer pieces can never contain, said cousin Alice Wingerden, who seems to specialize in helping us see common things in a new, respectful way. I love the stories that they tell with their flaws and imperfections.
Maybe the next time shes over, Ill show her my trunk. Something tells me shell approve.

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