The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Weary? Heavy heart? Join us for 40 days of hope
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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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By simplyfaithful
Feb. 4, 2013 12:01 a.m.

For weeks now Iíve wanted to offer words of comfort and healing, to somehow string together nouns and verbs in a way that they might become a balm for us all. But I have had no words, no wisdom to share.
Even my prayers have been short and repetitive: Please, help us.
I donít think Iím alone in this, this place of leaning on the Unseen because I canít believe my eyes Ė because I donít want to believe my eyes. So, Iím doing the only thing that seems to make sense to me. Iím making myself write about hope for 40 days.
When you study writing, you hear about the importance of descriptive language and rhythm and tone. When you practice writing, you learn that itís just as much about organizing your thoughts and taking a microscope to what you believe.
And right now I need to thoroughly examine hope. I need to see what it looks like in the light and in the dark, and I need to write it down so I remember how the story ends, how good trumps evil. Always.
I need this.
Iím starting Feb. 13, which is Ash Wednesday, in hopes that my heart will be better prepared to celebrate Easter. Iíd be honored if you chose to join me and to send some of your own thoughts on hope. Maybe you could write about how youíve found hope in the middle of your troubles or tell us about something wonderful happening. For those whose creative outlet is music or art, would share a song recommendation or a painting or photograph?
How about designing a journal page to share with us? I have seven already but Iíd love to offer 40 unique and inspiring pages that people could download and write on.†Imagine how beautiful a journal like that would be.
Maybe weíll find we donít need many words. Maybe weíll find hope alone is our balm.
Update: I introduced this idea a couple of weeks ago here at this blog and then shared it with readers of the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. They have been generously sharing their thoughts on hope ever since. I do still have room for more, though… especially for those who would like to create a journal page. If you are interested, here are the details:
  • People of all ages and artistic abilities are encouraged to participate.
  • Decorate an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper with words or symbols that remind you of hope, but leave room for people to write.
  • Create a pdf of your page or send a copy to me, and I’ll be happy to scan it in for you.
  • Email me a picture of yourself and a short bio so people can learn a little about you.†
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