Every once in awhile, I think about the job I have and get a little melancholy.
Does what I do make a difference?
I’m not a doctor working to save lives. I’m not a teacher working to inspire our youths. I’m just a reporter, covering meetings and channeling conversations into local news stories for people who care enough to read them.
I once told a group of peers I’m too busy writing about the lives of others to focus on my own life, and to a smaller extent today, it still rings true. I tend to get wrapped up in issues that surround me. I attribute it to my growing-up years on the farm.
There’s a saying: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
I think back to my years on the farm, tending to the goat herd, the sheep herd and the flock of chickens and turkeys. It was hard, manual labor. There was a time I could carry four 5-gallon buckets filled with feed from the feed shed to the barn; I could carry a hay bale in each hand. I milked the goats until the tendons in my hands ached … and I kept going because there were a few more does with full udders.
What I did back then made a difference for the animals, and having them around made me happy. As hard as the work was, there was also the reward. The rewards came in adorable little goat kids romping through the straw in the spring, of bronze turkeys following me around the yard, of purple ribbons at the county fair and exciting trips to the state fair.
My life today seems so different, even though the farm is just a quick drive down the road.
Without a doubt, the animal-loving, hard-working farm girl is still inside me … but now there’s more. The people I’ve met and the stories I’ve helped share these past 22 years have opened my eyes to life beyond the farmyard. I have shared smiles and laughter, pain and tears with some of the people I’ve met.
On Thursday, I interviewed a local man whose hometown is halfway around the world. His people — friends, family, acquaintances — are being killed in ethnic clashes, and he’s safe in America, feeling helpless and fearing for his family.
I knew when his eyes began to tear up, mine would tear up also. When he shared graphic images of death, I had to look — knowing they’d flash before my eyes countless times in the days ahead. At the end of our conversation, he thanked me for listening, and I thanked him for sharing his story.
I went home after that, and as I sat down for lunch, I thought about those people in Ethiopia without food, without clean water, without a home … without a weapon to protect themselves from those who are out to kill them. And I wondered…
How do I tell this story? How can this story make an impact?
I don’t have the answers yet, but you will be able to read the story in Saturday’s Daily Globe. Until then, the Anuak people of Ethiopia are surely in need of prayers.