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Finding the sacred in everyday life
The importance of remembering who you are
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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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By simplyfaithful
May 27, 2013 5:20 p.m.

IMG_2876With a name like Marketta, you’re bound to have nicknames. That is, unless you have a mama like mine.
Growing up there were countless people who tried to shorten my name but each person was corrected – firmly – by Mama. She named me Marketta, she’d say, and that’s exactly what she wanted me to be called.
At times it was a little frustrating, and even a tad embarrassing when I was a teenager, but on this one point Mama was unmovable. I had no choice but to go along with it.
Somewhere along the way, I guess I succumbed to the brainwashing because I started to get irritated when people said my name was too difficult to pronounce or when they’d ask if I had a nickname that was easier to remember.
“You can call me Marketta,” I’d hear myself say firmly. And then I started to get it, how this really wasn’t a battle over nicknames. I got a glimpse of what Mama had been trying to teach me: Not to budge on who I am.
Life has a way of knocking us down and trying to slap labels on our foreheads. If we listen to some people, we can start to believe we’re failures or we’re lazy – that we’re not contributing anything of meaning and that we’re not worth remembering, no matter how short our names are.
It’s one of the biggest lies in the universe, this idea that we’re defined by what naysayers think of us or by what they want to call us. Still, sometimes I fall for it. That is, until I remember who I am and Whom I serve.
I believe in a God who literally filled the depths of the oceans and placed each star precisely in the sky, a God whose power and compassion I can’t even begin to describe. And in my mind, it’s that awe-inspiring God who says we’re loved, forgiven and cherished. I can’t help but give His opinion a little more weight than what the average person thinks.
He says we’re worth remembering. In fact, we’re worth it all.
He even says it firmly. And I believe Him.

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