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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 9: On one side despair, the other hope
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About this blog
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. ...
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Simply Faithful
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. 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.\x34
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By simplyfaithful
Feb. 22, 2013 11:10 a.m.



I cry at the Hallmark channel and at the occasional country song, but even I was surprised when my eyes started to well up while checking Facebook the other day. A friend from long ago had posted a video made at her church, and it featured what they called cardboard testimonials.

It’s a simple concept, really. You cut up a cardboard box and on one side you write a problem you faced. On the other side, you write how God helped you through it. In my friend’s case, people took turns coming up to the front of the church. They showed their signs and then flipped them to show what God had done. One after another, after another.



  •  Breast cancer – survivor


  • Used drugs to feel good – Use God to feel ecstatic


  • Orphaned with no family – God provided a family


  • Brother killed by drunk driver – I have forgiven


  • $$$$ bondage – freedom obedience




For close to eight minutes the people stream by on the video, sharing some of the deepest parts of their souls in fewer than 10 words. I cried because of the pain they must have felt and I cried because I’m in love with hope, with overcoming the impossible. And every time the cardboard signs turned over, there she was – hope scratched in black marker.

I’m sure many of us could hold up our own signs. I know I would have trouble deciding on just one:



  •  Will I ever be loved? – married April 18, 2003


  • Drs said arm might not grow or move – played sports, trombone


  • The adoption isn’t going through – celebrating 5 years as family




I also have signs waiting for their happy endings, waiting for God to help me over, around – or even through – mountains of doubt and troubles. But those signs will come, too. Eventually I’ll be able to flip them over and share testimonies of hope.

My marker is ready.

car crashToday’s journal page is from Tammy Riedl, who knows something of hope. Nine months ago, her oldest son was in a car accident that ruptured his spleen, crushed all the bones in his left pelvis area, broke his arm, collapsed his lung and bruised his heart, liver and kidneys. He spent 22 days in the hospital but — when the cardboard sign flips over — he returned to work full-time in late December.

To download today’s journal page, click here.

Here’s a glimpse:

Tammy

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