As journalists there are fundamental rules of both etiquette and practice.
There’s also style, which one learns in school on proper format for a hard news story versus human interest, sports or simple press release. Our personal opinion should not be evident in our work when presenting news. In short, our opinions are not relevant to the job we are put to task to do. Truth be told, personal opinion can affect the slant one takes when documenting the story for the reader. Hence all the “love” the media gets from the general public.
People like to tell us how to do our job. As a community newspaper it is our responsibility to listen, follow through when appropriate and present as we best see fit. As a weekly there is always the issue of timing, as well as space and relevance.
“If everyone loves what you’re doing, you’re not doing your job,” words said to me over a decade ago when my responsibility in the area of hard news branched out and human interest had a bit less space.
Fortunately (for me), as I shared a few weeks back I don’t have that traditional training bogging me down with rules and second guessing. On the job training, lots of reading and even more feedback has somehow served me fine over the past two decades. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work for a leader who offers feedback which is useful and a community which actually takes time to make phone calls or send e-mails – good or bad. I appreciate that.
Even better is this great gift we have as writers to contribute to a column space. The beauty of a column is its ability for us to individually let the reader in on our thoughts for a minute. For some, that’s not desired. They pick up the paper to read the news. I mean after all who really cares what Teresa Hammond thinks about the Super Bowl Half Time Show?
What I love about this space is the knowing that for every person that could do without, there are a handful that appreciate it. So, today I’m sharing this for them.
I’m not one who believes in luck or coincidence. Oh sure, I will use the word “lucky” on the regular, however as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more in touch with the reality of there being something bigger at hand.
I’ve always been a person of faith. Raised by the daughter of a Baptist minister, the word of God always seemed to find me in some way as a child. Lessons were everywhere.
That being said, I was also encouraged to create my own relationship with God or explore what spoke to my heart and I did.
While I personally struggled with certain aspects of Christian teaching, hypocritical practices and flashy sermons, over a decade ago I began to make it personal. No longer looking at what the world was doing, how others managed their relationship with God or even how I was expected to practice in a socially acceptable way.
I even went as far as to share with my children when they were young, that our home was the house of God. How we treat one another, what we give to strangers and how we live every day is living testament to what we believe. Going to a building does not make one a better Christian, it’s how you show up.
That’s not to discredit or make light of anyone whom chooses to attend church each week. As a family we do now as well and we love it. That however does not make us better or more deserving of favor or grace, it’s simply (for us) a place to share faith and fellowship with our family and community each week.
As many readers know, three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 3, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. As I type this, I am still in the battle, now facing my second recurrence over the past two years.
The good news is, it remains localized and has not progressed to any other area of my body, that’s a blessing. I remain strong, able to work and my medical team somehow still uses the word “curable,” more blessing.
For many, especially those who love me, it’s scary and I get that. It’s a tremendously uncertain time in our life. Personally, like many reading this, I have lost far too many, far too young to this disease to not know how this can go; but I have faith.
You see the funny thing about faith and cancer is it truly is the ultimate test of a Christian. While I am far from a theology major or one to educate on scripture, I have a strong belief in God’s plan.
There’s little which has been easy in my life. However, I’ve never viewed it as anything but good and fortunate, always seeming to know that it would all work out as it should.
There’s a reason God has me in this battle. Just as there’s a reason He called me to scrap a piece on being proud of my son’s Aca Dec team and share this here instead.
When I first began this cancer journey I was so grateful to the doctors, surgeons, nurses, even my insurance who fast tracked me through everything. I’m still grateful for them, the difference now, however, is that gratitude starts with God. He orchestrated what was needed to now place me in the company of some of the best in the country, as well as world. He offered me opportunity to not just have traditional treatment, but integrative care as well. Things I once explored on my own through books and picking the brains of others like me are now part of my treatment plan.
That’s bigger than me and most definitely not luck. As I share this, I am in the care of not just a traditional medical team but an integrative oncologist as well who has partnered with a nationally known alternative doctor.
So, what’s this all about T?
Quite honestly, I’m not sure. What I do know is as a journalist we are not supposed to share such things, but as a columnist today it seemed right.
For the person who needed this reminder, here it is: faith over fear, give it to God. Think it through, pray on it and then release it. The stress and the fear of the unknown do not serve you in any way. Release it and then be open to what is next. It will take work, we must show up, but we place faith first eventually it all comes to pass.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.