The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
Finding the sacred in everyday life
How to find rest
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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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May 16, 2014 11:15 a.m.

IMG_7063 When Mama comes to visit, we are assured of two things: There will be chocolate gravy for breakfast and there will be time on the porch.
The older she gets and the more her legs ache? The more we sit. It’s always hard at first, this sitting – this slowing down of mind and spirit. It’s not that I’m used to doing or moving too much. It’s that I’m used to worrying that I do too little. My thoughts love to wander into areas that are spotted with “I should…” and “Don’t forget to…” No matter how fast I work, I can’t out run my mind.
IMG_7068Still, I want time with Mama so I sit. I listen to Mama tell me how they are searching for a new preacher in our home church, how she isn’t sure she’ll be able to keep the family history book up-to-date now that Aunt Louise is gone. I tell her Colt’s speech therapy is going well and Benjamin loves his art class, that Jessie prayed for a kid who has been bullying him.
We add another cup of bird seed to the feeders and call the boys out to see the cardinals and the robins and the smarty pants squirrel who hangs upside down to scrape out a snack.
We bring out more chairs and make tea.
IMG_7167 By the middle of her trip, I’m reading to the boys by the dim shine of the patio lights. And when they can’t find me at the computer, or in the kitchen or down in the basement doing laundry, they know to look on the porch – where there is important work, too.
Work toward being content, not only with what I have but with what I’ve gotten done. Work toward understanding that I might be able to simplify my life just by simply letting go of some of my own expectations. Work toward knowing that this needs to last after Mama goes home and I return to my normal routine. Work toward grasping that I need more than a vacation. I need a sabbath. I need the sacred gift of rest, not just from tangible tasks that pile high but from the work orders my mind barks out.
The “I shoulds” are always clamoring for attention. They’ll take as much as they can get, especially when there are no limits, no hard stops. Sabbath interrupts the habit. It stops the running. It retrains the mind and nourishes the soul.
And it teaches me that the more I ache from busyness and stress, the more I need to sit.

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