Last week I came to peace with something I’ve realized for quite some time – I’m not a conventional writer. Eighteen years into the gig, it’s fair to say … that’s not going to change.
The thought first came to me when my phone began buzzing last Wednesday and Thursday with words of kindness about my week’s column. The column “Grateful for the Glass,” touched on a few personal things as well as the taboo topic of mainstream media … God.
Whatever your religious belief, please understand this, me writing about my personal faith is not intended to convert readers. As a column writer, I’m simply sharing my experiences and acknowledging (at times) the source I feel is responsible.
Before going much deeper or further let me be clear about a few things, I’m 51 years old, I have a strong faith in God and I don’t wake each morning excited to “take someone down” via investigation or a hard news story.
My blood doesn’t pump faster looking for the “get” on dirt regarding others. That later fact alone will likely find me keeping this desk warm until I’m told it’s time to go. I’m cool with that.
I wake up excited to talk to the kids who’ve accomplished something big in school or their personal life. I get excited talking to business owners seeing their dreams finally come to fruition, brave enough to try. Lastly, my heart really skips a beat when I’m called upon to share anything and everything about the giving nature and love that filters through this community. Yeah, as a colleague once put it, I’m the warm and fuzzy/rainbows and butterflies writer – lucky me.
As a writer, witnessing God’s work on so many fronts is powerful to not just live but know and yes, that brings joy.
Last week’s reader response showed me I’m not alone in this feeling.
I love a good book. As spring training came to an end and baseball season beckoned, this one seemed a timely fit. My recent book of choice is, “Dave Dravecky Comeback.”
The book, however, is about so much more than baseball. In fact baseball serves as more of the backdrop for a bigger picture story. A story of perseverance, passion, love, faith and most notably, God.
In reading Dave’s story he acknowledges the taboo of sharing one’s faith as a professional athlete. In one section he even recounts overhearing sports reporters huddle to discuss how they would convey a press conference filled with glory going to God without discussing God.
Now again, I’m embracing my unconventional practice and my peace with it. That being said, I must admit I found this a bit funny. We live in a world where athletes (and artists) can endorse the meal plan they subscribe too, the alcohol they “prefer,” even their feelings on marijuana and just about anything else which might make one cringe – but don’t you dare discuss God.
I’ve never struggled or found fault with people discussing their beliefs. Perhaps that’s due to my curious nature or because I’m solid in my own, don’t know.
As a parent however, I would much rather have my children listen to a ball player discuss how he feels God impacted his life through faith and healing versus some of the other topics.
Now again, to each their own and those who know me know, I’m far from sainthood. I am however honest, perhaps in this case to a fault.
What I know for sure is Dave Dravecky’s words in “Comeback” not only touched me, but inspired me to live my truth.
Will everyone like it or agree? Of course not and that’s okay. There are plenty of other pages to this paper and if all else fails there’s always the Cop Log for those needing more than rainbows and butterflies.
Oh sure, the time may come where there’s controversy between the school district and staff and I have to cover it. Every now and again a fire or car accident may occur that I’m called to photograph, fair enough.
Those days however, those are true “work” days. Those are the days which will never trump the smile of a six-year-old, a parent or a business owner asking the favorite question of every writer – “when will this be in the paper?” Now that ... that’s the good stuff.
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 847-3021.