The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Logging off and tuning in
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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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July 29, 2014 11:10 a.m.

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It was the day I was supposed to write my column Ė two columns to be exact Ė so I could go on vacation and not have to worry about sending anything in to my editor.
And it was the day the old computer decided to work sometimes and not work other times. Like Pavlovís dog, I sat there in my home office waiting for my treat, waiting for the screen to blink on so I could peck out some sentences on my keyboard and check in on my social media sites.
But the minutes ticked by and no treat came. Not even a flicker. Not a post. Not a tweet.
I started shuffling papers and straightening books. I noticed Coltís tempera paint artwork and Benjaminís acrylic-on-canvas masterpieces, so I opened up a package of Command hooks and started eyeballing where the paintings would fit on the wall.
I dusted the bookcase, pushed the heavy Royal typewriter farther to the right and had Jessie bring in some trimmings from a friendly plant that lives in my neighborís yard but likes to stretch out on our side of the fence. I pulled out Grandmaís old cat eye glasses, some thread on a wooden spool and tiles from a Scrabble game. I talked and laughed with the boys while I brought out the markers and the colored pencils, the paintbrushes and the blending sticks.
All day we tinkered and visited and colored and decorated.
All day the computer made it difficult for me to log on but easier for me to connect. Because sometimes, when Iím checking in at all those virtual sites, Iím really checking out.
So, instead of spending those hours preparing for vacation, I spent those hours enjoying living here at home. I warmed up the oven to make the boysí favorite banana bread and fiddled with those garage sale Scrabble tiles to figure out what I wanted to spell, what I wanted to remember from the day.
The letters were almost too easy to find in the pile.
B.E. S.T.I.L.L.
A reminder of the day and a lesson for a lifetime.

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