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Examiner
Finding the sacred in everyday life
What to do when your directions are all wrong
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About this blog
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. ...
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Simply Faithful
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. 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.\x34
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March 11, 2014 12:01 a.m.



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I’ve always had an issue with textures. No chunky pecans in my cookies, please. No whipped cream in my hot chocolate. And, even though I love lemons, no slimy seeds in my drink.

IMG_6849Somehow, the other day, a lemon seed slipped past me. I didn’t notice it until I took a sip of my water and saw it bobbing up and down near the surface. I poked my finger in but barely missed it. I must have touched the edge because it plunged toward the bottom. When it came back to the top, I tried the same thing again – and got the same disappointing result.

Of course, I thought. I needed to come at it from the side and then move underneath it so I could scoop it up.

One swift movement and it was out. Lemon seed crisis averted.

I had known better than to move in from above. It wasn’t like the seed had a way to reach out to me and grab hold. But that’s the first approach I used – and the second – and it’s one I use far too often when dealing with people.

You didn’t pick up your toys? You didn’t finish your homework? You forgot to call the electrician?

Poke. Prod.

We’re fond of saying we should only look down on people when we’re helping them up but maybe we’ve got our directions all wrong. Maybe looking down on people wouldn’t even be a temptation if we were walking side by side or if we were making it a habit to humbly lower ourselves in service to others – to be close enough to listen to one another.

Perhaps the 6-year-old is overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start cleaning the Lego-scattered floor. The 15-year-old might not have understood that math assignment, and the husband? Well, if I bother to ask, I might find that there are things besides rewiring the ceiling fan that are priorities in his life right now.

Instead of poking and prodding, I can always choose to come alongside. And from that angle, it’s much easier to lift someone higher.

IMG_6837

A project for Lent: Since we’re still working on reading “Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption,” I tried to come up with a Lenten project for this year that was simple, yet full of meaning. So, my family and I will be taking pictures wherever we see God and his work. I’ll be sharing those pictures on social media, and you are more than welcome to join us if you think it might help prepare your heart for Easter, too. We’ll be using #seeGod on Twitter and Instagram to make it easier to follow along.

 

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