Faithful Food: Breath of Fresh Air

by Kim Long

The sacrament of Confirmation was celebrated recently in our parish. This class has been, well, different. We had some who had been with us “since the beginning” and some who were new students. Throughout the course of this year I came to know them better as I spent time with them on several occasions in a teaching and advisory capacity. On the morning of Confirmation though I was filled with anticipation. I was unprepared for my emotional reaction when the choir intoned the Veni Sancti Spiritus. I wondered how many really wanted the Holy Spirit to come and then suddenly I did, more than anything.
As the students brought the gifts during the Offertory I turned, craning my neck, in order to see each one, a smile breaking across my face. There, I thought, is one of the gifts a DRE receives: completion.

The verse from 2 Timothy came to mind: “I have finished the race, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.” I felt that verse applied to both the students and myself.

The day before I talked with them about the pros and cons of their Parish School of Religion journey ending. We talked about “growing up our faith” as we age. Sitting in the pew on Sunday a million thoughts raced through my head about all the changes that seem to be happening at an unbelievable pace, barely leaving me time to catch my breath. Losing an editor was not the least of these.

Meeting Jessica Rinaudo for the first time my one overarching thought was of her youth, which was immediately followed by wondering how this “work relationship” would pan out. Like Katie, my fellow columnist of many years, I too have learned so much from Jess. It has been an utter delight, a blessing, and an exercise in all things associated with the art of the well-turned phrase.

With each passing month, I sat at my computer, churning out what I hoped God wanted me to say and then feeling completely vulnerable when I hit send afterward thinking, “the wheels are in motion, there is no turning back.” This was more true than I could know.

With Jessica’s carefully crafted comments, she guided me forward each month and we have come so far that I barely remember the first piece of writing I proffered for consideration. Over the years I have told her countless times that she makes me look better than designer clothes.

So, as this class was confirmed, I thought of gifts and the concept of receiving and realized God is always offering me treasure in one form or another if I have eyes to see and ears to hear. I thought of all the moments Jessica and I have shared, some funny, some heart wrenching, always a blessing. In my mind we have helped one another “keep the faith” through laughter, prayer, lunch and attempted rehabilitation for my careless abuse of the semicolon and the dash. Time passes, we move forward, we move on, we pack, we keep, we discard, we embrace, we grow our faith up as we grow up. As we both draw to the close of this chapter in our relationship, I look forward to hearing of her adventures and sharing my own as we both journey onward. In the “spirit” of the season I offer the following sidebar…

The Care and Feeding of a Columnist

Wisdom… an editor knows when to push you to the edge and when to pull you back.

Understanding… an editor knows when to extend a deadline and when to leave a text message asking if everything is ok as, “I haven’t heard from you.”

Counsel… an editor knows how to hold the shaky hand of a columnist and say, “Yes, you can.”

Piety… (also known as reverence, coming to God with humility). An editor respects that a columnist is opening up completely and guides them to a place where their work is respected and shines. An editor is prayerful and prays with and for their columnists.

Fortitude… an editor knows when to send a piece back, knowing it can be made better. What seems a momentary rejection becomes a teachable moment.

Knowledge… an editor knows the audience and the writers and that both answer to a higher power. An editor knows that flowery phrases often obscure the message and isn’t afraid to prune.

Fear of the Lord… an editor knows that God is God, and columnists are not. An editor guides their columnists to a place in their craft where higher truths will shine.

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