This is Part I of a story about God’s dream and plan for my writing. Part II is here.
The line stretched down a long boulevard and wrapped around the school. I swung my car onto the gravel parking space across the street, grabbed my notebook, phone, and pen. Sucking in a big breath I glanced across the street and wondered if any media had reporters on the scene.
Slightly nervous, I carefully crossed the major street and smiling at the families waiting to get their free school supplies, I edged up to the main gate, flashed my name badge at the guard and squeaked between the cherub faces enthralled with Ronald McDonald. I scanned the crowd looking for a familiar face. A contact I knew from one of the organizations sponsoring today’s backpack and school supply giveaway. Photo courtesy of “Arizona Daily Star.”
Gratefully, I quickly found the young man I knew who could point me in the right direction and to just a couple of people from whom I needed quotes for my community article. I took a quick survey. Backpacks were in the cafeteria. School supplies and tables of community organizations providing resources were available in the gym. A Christian band could be hear in the background on this public school campus.
And as I assessed the plan, my colleague was introducing me to the school district’s superintendent. Did I need a quote from him, my colleague was asking. I froze for a moment, not realizing I would be interviewing or quoting anyone other than a couple of people on my list. We were briefly introduced but to my relief he was in a hurry and had no time for quotes.
I headed for the cafeteria, determined to cover this event as an observer. Recording moods, reactions, feelings, and interactions of the people as they gratefully moved from one station to another collecting their loot for the upcoming school year while children played games and ate popcorn. My confidence wobbled on weak legs as I realized I wasn’t prepared for the massiveness of the event or the difficulty in connecting with people to gather information.
But God had other plans. The air was charged with anticipation as the dark monsoon clouds hung over this Arizona town. Relief from a harsh, sunny day for the thousands in line and a peaceful indication of the day’s outcome for me.
The gym was packed with people picking up supplies and hearing about free services available to families throughout the year. I stopped at a few, scribbled some notes, and moved on looking for that other person I wanted to interview. After inquiring of several people, a friendly gentleman I had never met before placed his hands on my shoulders and steered me like a go-cart toward the person I was looking for. In the scramble and weaving through the crowds, somehow we wound up in front of the city’s mayor.
My heart was racing. Palms were sweaty. Oh, yeah. I was not prepared for this one. My mind raced through a series of questions I could fire at the head of our city while I tried to maintain a cool, confident-looking appearance that belied the churning in my stomach.
It seemed the interviews flowed more easily than I expected. The mayor even had one of those “Golden Comments” every reporter hopes will come his way. A few photos were taken outside the gym and families began to ease out of the gym. Feeling more comfortable about this assignment, I stopped a couple of them and asked for their impressions of the day. One woman commented that she would never have been able to provide backpacks and supplies for her kids without this event.
My legs felt firmer. My smile broader. My turbulent thoughts had ceased and in their place was an amazing revelation.
The thrill of reporting was still in my blood. That calling God had placed there decades ago as I stepped out of college into the professional field still spoke to my heart.
“I knew this was what I was designed to do,” I thought as I exited the school grounds with a confident stride.
God’s Renewed Calling on My Life coming this weekend.
From My Heart To Yours,