PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
Finding the sacred in everyday life
How we can all prepare for the Olympics
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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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IMG_6530Sometimes, when Christmas is in the attic and winter is knee-deep on your lawn, you need a little something to look forward to Ė a reason to celebrate.
I suppose thatís how this idea to decorate for the Winter Olympics got started in our house. The dining room looked bare without its evergreen branches, and in my mind I guess that meant it was time to pull out the colored paper and the glue.
We decided we would all cheer for the United States but that weíd also choose two other countries to support in the games.
For Jessie, thatís Romania and Japan. Benjamin chose Jamaica and New Zealand, and itís Argentina and Ethiopia for Colt.
Brian, sensing that there would be an award for the most medals won, went with Russia and Norway.
Me? Iíll be pulling for Thailand and the Ukraine.
We measured and cut on and off throughout the weekend. First, for the flags. Then, for the paper chain of Olympic rings and the tiny banner for the coffee table.
Somewhere between cleaning paper scraps off the floor and lining the first black triangle up against the green of Jamaicaís flag, I started to think of our project as more than a party, more than a geography lesson.
It was a way to think of people other than ourselves.
These flags hanging three feet from where we bow our heads and give thanks for every meal could be visual reminders to pray that people in other parts of the world would be blessed, too.
At least for the next few weeks, we could follow their athletes and their stories. At least we could start to see them not as countries but as individuals with joys and burdens Ė as people loved greatly by God.
We started by praying for laid-back Jamaica. Then, the next day beautiful Argentina was our focus.
Those crooked, handmade decorations?
Turns out, they are helping our hearts see straight.
Will you pick a country Ė or two Ė to pray for in February? Would you add them to our list?

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